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Ménard gets first Tim Hortons Brier win in front of friendly fans

OTTAWA — Jean-Michel Ménard of Quebec cracked open a tight game with three in the ninth end Sunday to get past Adam Casey of Prince Edward Island for his first win at the Tim Hortons Brier.

“First win under the belt so we’re happy,” Ménard said after improving his record to 1-2. “Three losses to start would have been really tough. It gives you more confidence when you’re able to get that win under your belt and it takes off a lot of pressure.”

Mike McEwen of Manitoba (2-1; Winnipeg) also used a three-ender – his came in the fifth – to beat Mike Kennedy of New Brunswick (1-2; Grand Falls) 6-3, Brad Gushue made a clutch tapback for a pair in nine to subdue Jamie Koe of Northwest Territories (0-3: Yellowknife) 6-3 and Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario (3-0; Sault Ste. Marie) stole singles in the second and sixth ends to get past Jim Cotter of B.C. (1-2; Vernon-Kelowna) 5-3.

The results left Northern Ontario and Team Canada tied atop the standings at 3-0 with a bunch of teams right on their heels at 2-1.

Ménard, third Martin Crête, second Éric Sylvain, lead Philippe Ménard, alternate Pierre Charette and coach Bob Ménard had their hands full with the youthful Casey squad from Charlottetown/Summerside.

“He made a whole lot of doubles across the house and a couple of really good setups, especially in the fifth end and we were able to dodge a bullet and force them to one,” said Ménard.

P.E.I. was up 2-1 when Ménard scored three in the ninth, an end that looked like Casey might steal until the final skip rocks.

Casey’s hit-and-roll over-curled and left the Quebec stone inside the four foot and Ménard followed with a hit-and-stick for the three.

The win was especially satisfying for the Quebec team because of the vocal fan support it got throughout the game.

“Especially when you’re at home and lots of friends are coming to see,” he said. “I think we’re giving a good show, but no wins to show until now. They’ll be able to get back into the bus for Quebec City saying at least we won a game.

The Harnden boys, Ryan on the left and E.J. on the right, go to work on Sunday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The Harnden boys, Ryan on the left and E.J. on the right, go to work on Sunday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“It’s fun to see all those people cheering for us, it’s heartwarming.”

McEwen, in his first Brier, said his teammates made pretty much every shot he asked of them, and it took most of them to get past New Brunswick.

“They were playing it pretty tight to the chest. They took minimal chances so that’s why it was tight, probably to try to get it down to a three-, four-end game, get a little mistake and maybe sneak one out.

“It’s tough to generate offence when the other team doesn’t want to play that.”

Not playing in the evening draw were Pat Simmons and Team Canada (3-0; Calgary), Glenn Howard of Ontario (2-1; Etobicoke), Kevin Koe of Alberta (2-1; Calgary) and Steve Laycock (1-2; Saskatoon).

The main round-robin competition begins Friday with draws at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. ET.

For ticket and other event information, http://www.curling.ca/2016brier/tickets/

For the complete schedule, go to http://www.curling.ca/2016brier/draw/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016brier/?lang=fr

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier