February 13, 2011
Stoughton cruises to 'Toba finalWily vet shooting for ninth Buffalo
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
BEAUSEJOUR — The crafty old veteran is making it look easy.
Charleswood’s Jeff Stoughton, who is searching for his record-tying third straight provincial men’s curling championship, advanced to Sunday’s final with an 8-3 win over Brandon’s Terry McNamee on Saturday night in the 1-1 Page playoff game.
Stoughton will have a chance Sunday to join former lead Doug Armstrong as the only man in Manitoba to have won three consecutive provincial men’s curling crowns.
“That’s pretty exciting,” Stoughton said. “You love to dominate as much as you can and put all the heat on all the other teams to beat you, and that’s what we’re trying to do right here.
“We’d love to finish it off with another championship. Three in a row would be gravy.”
Stoughton’s relatively easy journey to the final is in sharp contrast to that of the top seed, Mike McEwen, who will face McNamee is Sunday morning’s semifinal.
McEwen lost 9-4 to McNamee on Saturday morning in a championship round clash, thumped La Salle’s Randy Neufeld 7-2 and then needed an extra end to eliminate Fort Garry’s Vic Peters 5-4 in the 3-4 match on Saturday night.
Stoughton, who has won eight titles in nine career trips to the provincial final, said it by no means has been easy, but he admitted having been there and done that so many times is probably an advantage.
The McEwen crew has appeared to be a lot more tight than the Stoughton foursome, which also includes Jon Mead, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould, who will be looking for his sixth crown on Sunday.
“It’s a pressure cooker,” Stoughton said. “They came in as number one and they’re trying their hardest to play, and maybe they’re not being as good as they wanted to be.
“It’s just one of those things. They’re just a little off, and if we have to play them in the final we expect them to be really, really good.
“… They’re a different team than we are. We’re just older and stupider and have a little more fun maybe.”
Stoughton appeared to be badly outplaying McNamee in the 1-1 game, but the score was tight until Stoughton took control with a steal of one in the sixth.
McNamee, who has won four provincial mixed titles, will have to beat the top two seeds on Sunday to capture his first provincial men’s crown. Despite Saturday’s setback, he’s confident.
“Just win two,” he said. “That’s all we have to do.”