Scots hope history repeats against Canada

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

REGINA -- Tom Brewster has seen the evidence, so he knows it can be done.

He's even played with the man who did it.

The Scottish skip will get a crack at beating Canada's Jeff Stoughton Friday night when they meet in the 1-2 Page playoff game at the world men's curling championship at Brandt Centre.

The winner will go directly to Sunday's final, while the loser will play in Saturday's semifinal against the winner of the 3-4 playoff match. Five countries were still vying for the two spots in that game going into Thursday night's round-robin finales. There's a good chance Friday tiebreakers will be required.

Stoughton, the 1996 champ, has lost only one meaningful game now in three trips to the worlds, and that came against Scotland's Hammy McMillan in the 1999 gold-medal match in Saint John, N.B.

The good news for Brewster, who will need all the help he can get on Friday night, is he has a connection to McMillan.

"Hammy played third for me for a couple years. He always brings up (the '99 final)," Brewster, 36, said after clinching second place with a 6-1 win over France. "I know how he did it. I've seen the video. They played great that day, and that's the key.

"(But) I feel Jeff's got a stronger team this year. This is his best team I've seen. They're really solid."

Canada ran its record to 10-0 Thursday morning with a hard-fought, 5-4 triumph over pesky China. Stoughton, Jon Mead, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould were taking on Norway (6-4) in their round-robin finale late Thursday.

The Winnipeg foursome thumped Scotland 7-3 in its round-robin meeting Tuesday. In fact, it has thumped almost everyone thanks to remarkably quick starts. Canada has led this week by a combined score of 13-3 after the first end and 47-28 at the fifth-end break.

"Reid and Steve are just setting things up so well," said Mead, whose squad will have the hammer on Friday. "We definitely try hard to get out of the gates. It's huge to get out of the gates well and get up, because the crowd might be giving us a half point in the first place.

"So if we can get another two on top of that, it makes for a long game out there for the other guys."

Scotland's third, second and lead are 22, 21 and 22 years old, respectively, and this week is their first time playing in an arena and in front of more than 400 people. In other words, there's a chance the bright lights and sold-out Brandt Centre could be a factor Friday night.

"Hopefully they're going to be nervous as hell and they play terribly, but they seem to be holding their own, obviously," Stoughton said with a bit of a chuckle. "But it's going to be the only sheet out there, 6,500 cheering for Canada -- plus their 50 Scottish supporters, which are pretty loud -- so I think it's going to great.

"But that's a big thing. That's why we like to get off to a good start, because hopefully we handle the nerves better at the start and maybe (they) get a couple early misses before they get into a groove."

Third Greg Drummond, who lost last year's Scottish junior men's and men's finals, doesn't sound too concerned about playing in front of the pro-Canadian crowd.

"It's going to be loud," he said. "It was back on Tuesday when we played Canada, but I'm guessing it's going to be a bit louder. We're looking forward to it."


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