KAMLOOPS -- Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton lost his second in a row here at the Tim Hortons Brier Tuesday morning, falling 9-7 in an extra end to Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard.
Holding hammer in the extra end, Stoughton elected a difficult runback with the final stone of the game but threw it wide, handing Quebec a game-winning steal of two.
Stoughton had three options on his final shot -- a come-around to the back four-foot where a pair of Quebec stones were sitting, including the counter; a quiet tap-back on his own stone biting the top four-foot; or the runback of his stone on to the Quebec stones.
Stoughton chose what appeared to be the most difficult of the three options but defended the choice afterward.
"I was just a little wide and poked it a little bit. It just over-curled," said Stoughton. "One shot, my last shot, that’s it -- otherwise we played a great game and made all the shots we had to make out there. It’s disappointing -- we had it in our hands and just couldn’t make the last one."
The loss to Quebec comes after a loss to Alberta Monday evening and means Manitoba has now lost two straight after winning their first four in a row.
With the loss, Stoughton drops all the way from a tie for first place into fourth place at 4-2. Saskatchewan’s Steven Laycock and Alberta’s Kevin Koe are tied for second at 4-1, while BC’s John Morris improved to 5-1 and sole possession of first place Tuesday morning with a 7-2 defeat of NWT’s Jamie Koe.
Stoughton won’t get much of a chance to lick his wounds -- his team is right back out on the ice this afternoon, playing Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy (0-5).
The loss to Quebec spoiled what was otherwise a great comeback by Manitoba, who fell behind 4-0 in the very first end when Menard made a spectacular triple-takeout with the final rock of the opening end.
Manitoba third Jon Mead said his team has struggled to find traction early in games at this Brier and it’s catching up to them. "We’re not getting out of the gate. Once we put ourselves behind in a game, we’re playing really well. We played great today for 9 ends and one shot.
"What we’ve got to figure out is how to do that while the game is tied. We’ve got to get out of the gate better and play like we are when we’re down...Jeff had a good game today and just missed his last one. I feel bad for him because he played such a good game."