Stoughton heads to worlds finalGets down to business of defeating Scotland
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Stoughton shoots in his 5-2 win over Scotland Friday. (REUTERS)
REGINA — On Thursday night they had their fun — winning the 50-50 draw, wearing funny hats and yukking it up with the crowd.
On Friday night they got back to business.
Canada’s Jeff Stoughton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Scotland’s Tom Brewster and cruised to a 5-2 victory in the 1-2 Page playoff game of the world men’s curling championship.
The triumph, in front of a sellout crowd of 5,689 at Brandt Centre, propelled Stoughton to Sunday night’s final, where the 47-year-old Winnipegger will attempt to capture his second world title. He and lead Steve Gould also won in 1996.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Stoughton said. “It’s exactly what we were planning for this whole week. We got through this game. I think we’re going to be on fire on Sunday night. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Scotland will play in Saturday night’s semifinal for the right to take on Canada once again, this time for all the marbles. The Scots will meet the winner of Saturday afternoon’s 3-4 Page playoff game between Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud and Sweden’s Niklas Edin.
Ulsrud advanced to the 3-4 game with a 5-4 win over France’s Thomas Dufour in the fourth-place tiebreaker on Friday afternoon. Ulsrud, who started with a 2-4 record, is heating up at the right time, having won six straight.
Canada, which also includes third Jon Mead and second Reid Carruthers, cruised through the round robin with 10 consecutive wins before losing their finale to Ulsrud. A few minutes after his team won more than $18,000 in the 50-50, Stoughton was heavy on a draw in the 10th that gave Norway a steal of one and a 7-6 win. Going into the playoffs off a loss didn’t hurt Canada on Friday night, however, as it curled 89% as a team compared to 83% for the young Scots.
Stoughton stole one in the eighth end when Brewster was heavy on a draw. He then stole another in nine when the Scottish skip flashed a peel attempt.
“We lost because I missed the draw in eight,” Brewster said. “If I make two draws in eight we’re one up playing nine. That’s it.”
Brewster, 36, said he put the broom was in the wrong place in the eighth, but Stoughton wouldn’t have been surprised if the gravity of the situation played a role.
“Maybe he was a little nervous,” Stoughton said. “He didn’t throw that one in eight very well. He kind of jacked it a little bit. He gave it a little shove.”
Stoughton doesn’t have a preference about his final opponent, although he gave reasons as to why he’d like to face all of them. If it’s Norway, he will have a chance to beat every team in the field. If it’s the inexperienced Scotland or Sweden squads, his team’s veteran savvy on such a massive stage could be the difference.
“Yeah sure, we hope they all wilt under the pressure and we’re able to handle it,” Stoughton said. “So it should be pretty exciting if we can play them and yeah, I hope they are under pressure and they do choke it up a little bit, because that’s what you need. You need some misses.”
PEBBLES: Canada will play in the final for the seventh straight year … Scotland has been in two of the last three gold-medal matches … Only three countries have won the last 18 world championships: Canada (12), Scotland (3) and Sweden (3).