by John Korobanik
March 1, 2014, Kamloops (ISN) – John Morris’s B.C. rink stole a single in the 10th end to nip Kevin Koe of Alberta 7-6 in the key game of the opening draw Saturday at the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier presented by SecurTek.
Team B.C. skip John Morris, left, urges sweepers Rick Sawatsky, middle, and Jim Cotter during their win over Alberta’s Kevin Koe on Saturday. (Photos, CCA/Michael Burns)
In other matches Jeff Currie of Northern Ontario scored five in the second end en route to a 13-5 win over James Grattan of New Brunswick, Brad Gushue of Newfoundland-Labrador cracked three in the eighth to get past James Murphy of Nova Scotia 7-2 and Jeff Stoughton’s Manitoba rink stole three consecutive singles to beat Eddie MacKenzie of P.E.I. 7-5.
“Bit of a barnburner to start the Brier,” said Morris. “It’s hard to be perfect right out of the gate at the Brier. I found both teams got a little fooled by the draw weight. It wasn’t consistent and that’s why our draw percentages are down.”
Northern Ontario sweepers Colin Koivula, left, and Jamie Childs work on a rock in Saturday’s first draw of the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier.
B.C. scored two in the first end, three in the fifth and singles in the eighth and 10thwhile Alberta countered with deuces in the second, third and sixth ends. Koe had the hammer in the 10th but B.C. put up early guards and then buried one shot on the edge of the button. Koe tried runbacks several times but couldn’t get at the rock and then Jim Cotter, who throws last rock, threw a perfect draw with his last rock to force Alberta to try another unsuccessful double raise with last shot.
“What meant the most was Jimmy had his draw weight with that last one, put it a really good spot, almost impossible to get out of there,” said Morris.
“That was pretty brutal, definitely not a classic,” understated Koe. “Neither team played well. We played horrendous.”
He said the problem for his rink in the 10th end was the early guards.
“There’s three guards right off the start. We had a chance to get out of it and over swept a rock and that’s what killed us. If we get it in the right spot they probably can’t get shot. We put it where we made it easier for them.
“Both teams played terrible. Some bad misses that weren’t even close.”
It was two rookie teams that provided the highest scoring game. Currie’s rink out of the Fort William Curling Club followed their five with two in the fourth, four in the sixth and two in the eighth to overwhelm New Brunswick.
Fans at the Interior Savings Centre showed off some unique curling fashions!
“Just not the start we really wanted, just came out flat,” Grattan said of his team’s showing. “We had a long day with the hot shots, had a guy there to the bitter end. That kind of took the legs out of a few of us.”
Still, he said “we’re way better than that. The disappointing part is we didn’t show any inkling of coming out firing in our first game.”
The Oromocto foursome struggled with their draw weight throughout the game.
“In practice both teams did the outturn on the draw to the button and we kind of forgot that side of the sheet,” he explained when asked how Currie got the five-ender. “We had three opportunities to get one in there with draw weight and we were just light on every one of them.”
In Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. draw it will be Northern Ontario versus B.C., Greg Balsdon of Ontario against Jean-Michel Menard of Quebec, Newfoundland-Labrador playing Manitoba and Jamie Koe of Northwest Territories/Yukon meeting Steve Laycock of Saskatchewan.
There will be three draws Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 1:30 and 6:30 p.m.
All draws for the Tim Hortons Brier will be televised live on TSN/RDS 2, the official broadcasting partner of the Season of Champions.