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Stoughton in third place heading into tough stretch at Brier

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|The ice isn’t changing and we’re getting really used where to put the broom down. So we’re starting to take shape,

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|The ice isn’t changing and we’re getting really used where to put the broom down. So we’re starting to take shape," Jeff Stoughton said this morning.

KAMLOOPS — Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton won his second game in a row here at the Tim Hortons Brier this morning, beating Northern Ontario’s Jeff Currie 9-6.

Manitoba jumped all over Northern Ontario early in this one, posting a deuce in the first end and never trailing the rest of the way as Stoughton and company authored one of their best performances yet in what’s been an inconsistent week for the Manitoba champions.

"The guys played pretty solid from start to finish," Stoughton said afterward. "That felt really good. Everyone felt comfortable out there and a little more confident. The ice isn’t changing and we’re getting really used where to put the broom down. So we’re starting to take shape."

Manitoba is alone in third at 6-2 in the standings coming into this afternoon, trailing only Alberta and B.C. who are both 7-1. But both Ontario and Saskatchewan also have just two losses coming into this afternoon and have two games in hand on Manitoba at 4-2.

Manitoba plays Saskatchewan this afternoon, B.C. Thursday morning and then wrap up their round-robin against Ontario Thursday evening — a tough closing schedule.

Meanwhile, with an 8-3 loss to New Brunswick this morning, PEI fell to 3-5 and became the fourth and final team that will have to play its way back into the Brier next year as part of a new format.

Nova Scotia, at 0-8, was also relegated earlier this week. Those two provinces will join Nunavut and Yukon in a special 4-team playoff that will take place immediately prior to the start of next year’s Brier in Calgary.

Only one team will advance from the special playoff to compete in the actual Brier, while the other three teams will be sent home.

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