Roy struggles at provincial mixed playdowns

Raymond Roy’s rink could do no wrong on their way to advancing to the Northern Ontario mixed curling playdowns here last week. But when a berth to the Canadian championships was at stake, they could do no right.
The result was a surprising 0-5 record and a last-place showing for the Fort Frances rink, especially considering their hot play leading up to the provincials.
And given they were playing on home ice in front of family and friends, it looked to be the final piece of the puzzle they would need to help them advance from the six-team field.
But it was not to be.
“I guess all the teams are good and we knew we would have to play well to beat them. But I think it all came down to skip rocks, like it always does, and I missed too many shots and couldn’t finish off,” said Roy, whose rink included Kim Beaudry (third), Wayne Beacham (second), Stacy Beacham (lead), and Kathie Jackson (fifth).
“All the teams are better from top to bottom, none of the teams had a real weakness,” he added. “When we were playing to get here, we were finding ways to win, but then when we were here, we were finding ways to lose.”
“We just didn’t click which baffled us,” noted Beaudry. “We had a couple of games that went down to last rock but we didn’t curl as well as before.
“The third loss was the important one for us but it would have helped us to win early to gain confidence,” she added.
Roy opened action Thursday afternoon with a 7-2 loss to Brian Burgess (Thunder Bay). The game had been tied 2-2 after five ends before Burgess reeled off one in the sixth, then added a steal of three in the seventh and one more in the eighth.
Roy’s rink then lost a heart-breaker 5-4 to Victor Mitchell (Moosonee) in a see-saw battle Thursday night.
Mitchell held a 4-3 lead after eight ends. But after Roy tied it with a single in the ninth, Mitchell put the game away with his last shot for the win.
That second loss quickly put the local foursome behind the eight-ball.
“After we lost that first game, we could feel the pressure,” said Roy, who has now advanced to the provincial mixed playdowns four times (losing in the final twice).
“But the 5-4 loss was a must-win game and their skip made the shots, some very good shots, unbelievable shots,” he recalled. “We had a couple of three-enders built up but then he made the shots to erase them.”
Roy’s slim hopes for a playoff berth officially were dashed with an 8-4 loss to Dave MacInnes (Timmins) on Friday afternoon.
Then they lost another tough one–9-8 in an extra end–to Paul Nason (Sault Ste. Marie) on Friday night before closing out the round-robin portion with a 10-6 loss to eventual champ Chris Buchan (Sault Ste. Marie) on Saturday morning.
The story for the Roy rink at this year’s provincials was the fact they had trouble scoring points, never getting a chance to build up a significant lead or have a big end to change the momentum in any game
They scored just one three-ender in their five games, and most of their points came as a result of scoring just a single in an end.
“We couldn’t get our offence going but then again our defence wasn’t that great either,” laughed Roy, saying he’s eager to give it another shot next year.
“We were always in the game, in the ballpark, after four or five ends,” he noted. “After four ends, we were always where we wanted to be in a tight game–that’s what we wanted.”
Roy’s style is usually a defensive approach that tries to take advantage of the other rink’s mistakes when the situation arises. It’s a philosophy that has worked well for him in the past but which clearly didn’t at the provincial level.
Teams rarely make mistakes at this stage, and often come up with great shots to cover up any when they do make them.
Still, Roy had said going in he wouldn’t change their defensive-first style, saying that’s what got them to the provincials.
“I don’t think it was the strategy so much in that we just didn’t execute,” he admitted. “I wouldn’t change our strategy next time because its worked well for us in the past and it’s the style we’ve had success with.”