Quebec ends Brier losing streak

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:51 PM ET

LONDON-- It was a stress-releasing win for Quebec's Francois Gagne Wednesday at the 2011 Brier.

It was a relaxed Gagne as he ended a six-game losing streak defeating Jamie Koe and Northwest Territories/Yukon 10-4 Wednesday.

Gagne's Quebec rink lost in the morning draw 8-7 to British Columbia's Jim Cotter in an extra end.

For the first time since his 2-0 start Gagne looked at ease scoring a four and a three on the way to the victory. He helped start The Wave around the building and regularly interacted with fans.

"Finally," he said. "I am so relieved, so happy to break the slump. That was fantastic. It was nice with the big crowd. It was lots of fun with the fans."

Gagne made several big shots and even though the game didn't mean much, he said it is why he plays the game.

"To have the fans behind you and have fun, that is why you play. It is what you remember," he said.

Otherwise, it's been a tough week for the relatively new Quebec rink. After a good start, teams have punished virtually every mistake Quebec has made.

The team is still trying to have fun at their first Brier but as the losses pile it, it's been disheartening and frustrating.

"We are getting our ass kicked every time we leave an opening," said Quebec third Robert Desjardins. "The losses are quite difficult. We are a bunch of guys that we all hate to lose very much. The difference is pretty simple. Every time we had a tie game we managed to come out on top. Here, every time we have a tie game we don't manage to win it."

When the Brier began, it was expected the Quebec team would suffer from its lack of experience. In some ways, it's surprising the team was even here considering the way the season started and the changes the team made.

Desjardins started the season as skip but after the rink missed the playoffs in the first three bonspiels, Desjardins convinced Francois Gagne, who was throwing third rocks, to take over.

Now, as the Brier experience is winding to a close for the Quebec rink, it will have to decide what will happen next year.

"It's tough to tell at the moment. I suppose in some way we will try to defend our title," Desjardins said. "I'm a skipper. I've been skipping all my life. But it's not what I want to do for 10 years."

Desjardins said he doesn't think there will be a change to the make up of the team."

The four guys will probably stick together for next year. But who will throw what rocks? Who will be in the house? We'll do what it takes to have as many wins as we can. We lost six in a row here. If we lose six in a row next year, we aren't just going to lay around and wait for a miracle to happen, we will make some changes."

Desjardins said that Gagne didn't want to skip this year.

"But I made the move because I felt it was the best situation for the team," Desjardins said.

With the change, the rink went on a roll eventually winning the provincial title.

In many ways, this is a team still getting used to each other. At this Brier there has been a great deal of discussion about which shots to play. As a result, Quebec often drains the time club leaving a few seconds on it.

"We realized that I had to put some input because I have a lot of experience and more experience against the top teams," Desjardins said.

"Ninety-five per cent of the time, he has the right shot. Five per cent of the time we don't agree. I don't want him to pick the shot that makes me happy. I want him to pick the shot that is best."


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