Let's Rocque on, eh!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

INNISFAIL -- Every year people keep thinking they've found the flaw, the sign that the Ferbey Four is losing its edge. Then they watch something like we watched here early yesterday morning. It was 4-0 Ferbey against 4-0 Mark Johnson and the curling cop from Edmonton had the hammer against the three-time Brier champs.

Ferbey stole the first five points.

He put Johnson away in five ends.

Final score - 9-1.

It was 10:37 a.m.

They were done for the day.

It was the Ferbey rink's 32nd consecutive win at the provincial curling championships and put them two wins away from a record five straight trips to the Brier.

And there's more to it than what you see on the ice.

They even beat you at the bar.

Johnson and his Edmonton rink went home to bed after the last draw Thursday night. Ferbey and rink went to the Last Rock Pub, "where the in turns out,'' and spent the evening with the fans and volunteers.

To go out and howl at the moon and then go out and do that to an undefeated, first-rate rink makes it even more amazing.

"We're always up for the big game,'' said Scott Pfeifer.

"It's a good thing they're such good guys,'' said Kurt Balderston, out of the playoffs this year after having faced Ferbey in the final last year.

If you're on the Jamie King rink preparing for today's 1-1 game at the Alberta Kia Cup, you don't think it messes your mind?

"You want them to feel uncomfortable. You want them to feel a three-point or two-point lead isn't safe.

"You want them to go against us and have that doubt. We've worked hard to build a nice mental edge against other teams,'' said Pfeifer.

THEY'LL BEAT THEMSELVES

Ferbey says if there's a flaw with this team, other than his own advancing age, it's that they know they're the only team here that can beat them.

And sometimes, like in the Brier final last year in Saskatoon when it looked like they had their fourth-in-a-row won, they'll beat themselves.

"I've said it for the last five years,'' said Ferbey. "We're our own worst critics.

"We'll lose that edge. It'll happen eventually. It could happen today, it could happen tomorrow, it could happen down the road. But it will happen.''

King and Johnson had looked like the better rinks here in the first two days as the Ferbey gang coughed and sputtered.

But then they showed up to a big game and all showed up razor sharp.

The Ferbey rink shot 96%. Marcel Rocque and Dave Nedohin were 100%. Johnson's rink shot 68%, Johnson himself 46%.

"We're ready for the playoffs,'' declared Nedohin.

"We feel good about our game going against King.''

They get to play this one with a net. The winner goes to Sunday's final.

The loser stays alive, dropping to the Saturday night semifinal.

The thing about Ferbey, Nedohin, Pfeifer and Rocque is that they're better at every single position than every other rink here. And if you look up and suddenly see Rocque and Pfeifer on fire, forget about it.

"If Marcel and Scott are on, it makes it very difficult for other teams to combat that,'' says Ferbey.

"They're the best in the game. And when they're on ...''

The front end, known far and wide as Huffer & Puffer for their sweeping, don't disagree with the shot-making side of their jobs.

"If Marcel and I make our shots, I really like our chances,'' said Pfeifer.

Rocque said he and Pfeifer show up at the rink for a big game and, unlike a lot of rinks where the front-end players are looking for the last rock thrower to win the day, believe they can win it.

MISMATCHES ON PAPER

Today it's Rocque vs. Todd Brick and Pfeifer vs. Wade Johnson. On paper, they're both mismatches.

"It's a snowball effect,'' said Rocque. "Especially the way Randy calls the game. It can really set up the big end. With the four-rock rule, if I win my matchup and Scott wins his, we believe we're going to win the game.''

Rocque says the whole rink swings off Pfeifer more than anybody.

"If he has his magic, it snowballs to Randy and Dave. Scott is the key.''


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