Polars prove to be Ontario-killers at Brier
A pair of surprises on the Tim Hortons Brier late shift on Sunday night left only one contender — Alberta’s Kevin Koe-skipped aggregation — undefeated heading into the next four days of round-robin skirmishes.
Koe, the 2010 Brier champion, had a bye with a 3-and-zip record while his brother Jamie, skipping the Territories entry from Yellowknife, upended 2007 champion Glenn Howard of Ontario 10-6 in an extra frame for his second victory in a row over the Upper Canucks. His team dealt North Ontario’s Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie an 8-5 loss ion the afternoon.
New Brunswick’s previously winless Terry Odishaw, meanwhile, hung tough to call a halt at 8-6 to the three-game winning streak of Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy.
“That’s a pretty big day for us,” said the six-time NWT champion skip who traded singles with Howard on the eighth and ninth frames, then warded off an Ontario rally in the home end and cleaned house perfectly in the 11th and left the building with four of his stones counting.
“We played badly yesterday and came out today and put two good games together and got some good breaks,” said Koe, who headed into this morning’s contest with the home-province favourite Scott Manners at 2-and-1.
“It’s always good to beat one of the top teams in the world,” said Koe. “We’ve never beaten them before. But they struggled tonight and we capitalized on that.
“We had a key two in the seventh and that kept our momentum going. He had a chance for three in the last end and unfortunately for him he rolled a touch too far.”
The Territories team is aiming to at least better its best previous Brier record, a 6-5 log established in Koe’s debut year — 2006.
“This will help,” Koe said in reference to that goal.
Said the vanquished Howard:
“I thought I had it made in the 10th ( with the three-ender) but it wasn’t quite there. He made a couple of great rolls. He made a great roll one end and then ended up forcing us with another great roll in the eighth. He played well
“Bottom line, they made a bunch of shots and we didn’t play that great. You play average here and you lose. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”
Odishaw jumped into a 3-0 lead on previously unbeaten Murphy of CFB Halifax, then stole another deuce and refused to relinquish control once the Bluenosers attempted to make a comeback.
“We knew coming into this,” said Moncton’s Odishaw, “that we were playing some pretty tough teams right off the start.”
In fact, the Herringchokers lost to Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta before turning it around Sunday night.
“When you know you’re playing those tough teams you have to make up some ground fast,” said Odishaw, who received plaudits for his play from conquerors in spite of his first three defeats.
“I thought we played those tough teams pretty good,” he agreed. “We spent the whole year back home losing to a team and beating it later. We seem to lose to a team and then come back every time. So that’s the way we’ll look at this. I think we’re an exciting team to watch. You never know.”
In other night-time tiffs, Manitoba’s Rob Fowler won his third in four starts, handing P.E.I.’s Mike Gaudet his fourth straight setback — an 8-3 thumping.
And Manners of the Battlefords executed an open hit with his last rock to edge Robert Desjardins (1-2) of Quebec 6-5.
It was Manners’ second win in three starts.
“We were focused and ready and everybody was geared up and steady,” said the angular Saskatchewan skip.
“This is one we wanted to win. It’s what we came about. An evening game in front of the home crowd at the Brier.
“We’ll just take what game has to offer. We have to look at ‘em one at a time. That’s our goal.
“Yesterday I was nervous but today was a settling day. Not so anxious tonight, just ready to play.”
Saskatchewan grabbed a 3-1 lead with a deuce in the third end and never was headed.
Fowler has a one-draw assignment today and was safely tied with Murphy at 3-and-1.
“We’re happy to be where we are after the first weekend,” said the Brandon car dealer, a former teammate of absent defending champion Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg.
“The first game, I thought the team played really good. It was a matter of a couple of shots that I might have nailed down and we maybe could have been 4-and-0. But we’re in a good spot.
“From my perspective, when I have the opportunity to put points on the board I have to do that.
The last three games I’ve done that.
“Any time you win three in a row it gives you some momentum ad I’ve been around long enough to know that momentum is a huge thing.”
In one other Monday morning scrap at 8:30 CT, Quebec plays Ontario.
Written by Larry Wood
Monday, 5 March 2012 12:21