Brewster will meet Stoughton in world's final

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 PM ET

REGINA - Round 3, this time for all the marbles.

Scotland's Tom Brewster will meet Canada's Jeff Stoughton in Sunday's world men's curling gold-medal match after he defeated Norway's Thomas Ulsrud 7-6 in an extra end in Saturday night's semifinal at Brandt Centre.

Brewster, whose wife Kim hails from Edmonton, didn't have to throw his last rock in the 11th, as Ulsrud was heavy on a draw attempt.

"I am a bit shell-shocked," Brewster said. "I can't wait for the final now, to play in front of that large crowd."

Canada has already beaten Scotland twice this week, including 5-2 in Friday's night's 1-2 Page playoff game. Stoughton isn't worried about the theory that says it's difficult to beat the same team three times in a row in the same event.

"I don't think it's a big issue," said Stoughton, who is meeting a Scottish team in the world final for the third straight time. "It should be on the other foot, that they're going to have a tough time beating us and they should be more worried than we are."

The 36-year-old Brewster, whose team includes two 22-year-olds and a 21-year-old, battled for nearly two decades to get to the world championship, so reaching the final is almost like icing on the cake.

"That's what I've worked all these years for, to finally get here to the world championships," said Brewster, the 1995 world junior champ. "And then to take three 22-year-olds to the final, it's just amazing."

The loss ended a seven-game winning streak for Ulsrud, the reigning Olympic and world silver medallist who started the week with a 2-4 record. Norway pounded Sweden's Niklas Edin 7-2 in Saturday afternoon's 3-4 game.

Stoughton is expecting a defensive battle against Brewster, who played Friday's match as clean as he could in an attempt to steal a win at the end.

"We're not going to let it frustrate us, but it's a lot of wasted ends," Stoughton said. "If you go hard, a couple breaks might go the wrong way. So if they're going to play it close, we can play it close, too."

Stoughton, who also captured gold in 1996 over Warwick Smith, will have a chance to become just the ninth Canadian -- and 13th overall -- to skip a team to more than one world title. Lead Steve Gould also won with Stoughton in '96.

The 47-year-old skip has already cemented himself as the best curler in Manitoba history. A win on Sunday would no doubt put him in the national and international discussion.

"I'm just really looking forward to (Sunday) night," said Stoughton, whose team is 11-1 this week. "And it's a great feeling, because I'm not looking forward to it being over; I'm looking forward to the game. We're going to be excited, nervous, scared and everything in between. That's what it's all about."

It's also a chance for Stoughton and Mead to make amends for their loss to Hammy McMillan in the 1999 world championship match.

Making his world final debut on Sunday will be Canadian second Reid Carruthers, who had knee surgery just 10 months ago and will try to cap his first season with Stoughton in style.

"I try not to think about it," Carruthers said of potentially winning a world title at age 26. "It's just another game, just a lot more on the line. We just gotta be relaxed. If we're relaxed, we'll be good."

If they follow the mood of their leader, they should be good.

"We'll have a lunch (Sunday)," Stoughton said in his best Valley Girl voice, "and talk about how nervous we all are and how great we all are and how much we love each other."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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