Stoughton shocked

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

At this rate, the top-ranked team in the world will be dropping a couple of rungs soon.

Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton was felled in his opening two matches of the Grand Slam's Canadian Open at the MTS Centre yesterday.

First, Norway's Paal Trulsen stole one in the 10th end to nip the two-time Brier champion 6-5, then Quebec's Jean-Michel Menard ambushed Stoughton 7-1 in a stunning upset.

"It's because we're curling quite poorly right now," a candid Stoughton admitted. "I mean, those games were pretty bad. We couldn't put six shots together so, it's one of those things. Usually, you have to make eight in a row but we were just hoping to make six. That's how bad it was. We were definitely struggling with everything out there. Line, weight. We shot ourselves in our own foot, that's for sure."

Menard, who was a late invitee, could not believe his luck.

"Surprised by the result? Yes," he said. "For us to beat Jeff Stoughton, I would say, if we played 10 games against these guys, we'd probably beat them three, maybe four times. So, I guess that was one of the three or four times. We weren't expecting to win by that big a margin.

"We played eight bonspiels in the World Curling Tour this year. But they weren't as big as this one, with these kinds of fans and everything so, we got a few jiggles before the game. But once it starts, it's all right."

Stoughton, meanwhile, has skipped the best Manitoba foursome for the past decade, winning two Brier titles, a world crown and a Players' Championship. But falling to 0-2 in a four-game round robin means he is in danger of not even qualifying here.

"We have to win our last two, then we've got to hope that someone else loses their next two games," Stoughton said. "With half the field getting in, or eight out of 15, you just hope for the best.

"We'll try to win our last two and hope to get into a tie-breaker but we never would expect to go 2-2 and that get you something."

Stoughton plays fellow Manitoban Dave Boehmer and Ontario's Wayne Middaugh today.

Actually, Vic Peters was the only Manitoba team to record a victory in the first two draws, defeating Alberta's Randy Ferbey 12-7.

"It was just a bad performance," said David Nedohin, who throws the last brick for Alberta. "We couldn't get a hold of the ice and we couldn't get a feel for it. That's a recipe for disaster."

Ferbey bounced back to blast Quebec's Guy Hemmings 9-3, finishing the day at 1-1.

BITERS: The crowd count for the opening draw was 3,145 and a Slam record 3,190 for the second ... Slam icemaker Mark Shurek reported no major obstacles with installing the first curling ice to ever be made at the new arena.


Videos

Photos