Jeff Stoughton played Mike McEwen in a big game Friday night.
Care to guess how that turned out ?
In what has become one of the safest bets in all of sport, Stoughton continued his mastery over McEwen in the big game with a 7-5 victory over his hard-luck provincial rival on the final round-robin draw of the Canada Cup of Curling in Moose Jaw.
With the victory, Stoughton clinched first place with a 5-1 record and automatically advances to Sunday afternoon's men's final where the winner will earn $14,000, a chance to play in the 2014 Continental Cup in Las Vegas and finally -- and most importantly -- a coveted berth into the 2013 Canadian Curling Trials at MTS Centre where Canada's 2014 Olympic representatives in curling will be determined.
"There's no doubt I'm going to be nervous," Stoughton said Friday night of Sunday's final. "It's a big game for us where we're in if we win and we can forget about all this counting points (towards Trials berths) and all that other nonsense. It's all good. This is exactly where we wanted to be."
Stoughton was asked if his recent domination of McEwen in big games gives him an advantage before a rock is even thrown when the two teams face each other.
"I can't say if we do or not. Right now, we're ending up on the right side of the 'W,' that's for sure. It's just one of those things that's working out well for us.
Friday's game was won and lost at the third position, where Stoughton's Jon Mead crushed McEwen's BJ Neufeld 88-63 in the shooting percentages.
If there was a silver lining for McEwen, it's that at least this loss to Stoughton -- unlike his losses to the same man in the 2010 and 2011 Manitoba men's finals -- comes with a second chance. But there's going to be nothing easy about it.
With the loss to Stoughton, McEwen dropped from a possible first place finish into a tiebreaker game for third place this morning against Alberta's Kevin Koe. And to add insult to injury, McEwen won't even have the hammer versus the 2010 world champion.
McEwen, Koe and Ontario's Glenn Howard all finished tied for second place at 4-2. But because all three teams had identical 1-1 round-robin records against one another, the next tiebreaker became the teams' collective distance from the button in pre-game contests this week.
Howard won that competition, vaulting him into second place where he will await the winner of McEwen-Koe in this evening's semifinal.
Both McEwen and Stoughton lost their earlier round-robin games on Friday, McEwen falling 7-4 to Koe while Stoughton lost 8-7 to Toronto's John Epping.
In the women's event, meanwhile, the only Manitoba team still standing today is the one that doesn't need a Trials spot because they already have one -- Jennifer Jones's foursome.
With a 7-5 victory over Manitoba rival Chelsea Carey Friday night, the Kaitlyn Lawes-skipped Jones team eliminated Carey, who finished 2-4, while also clinching themselves a place in the semifinal at 4-2.
Lawes and company will now face reigning Canadian champion Heather Nedohin -- who also finished 4-2 -- in today's women's semifinal, with the winner of that game advancing to face Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton (5-1) in Sunday's final.
The only other Manitoba team in Moose Jaw this week was Cathy Overton-Clapham, who went 1-1 on the final day to finish last in the women's round-robin at 1-5.
Overton-Clapham can, however, take some small consolation in the fact that the other team to finish at 1-5 in Moose Jaw this week was reigning Olympic gold medallist Kevin Martin.
x -- Clinched final berth.
y -- Clinched semifinal berth.
z -- Will play tiebreaker.
John Epping 6 Brad Gushue 4
Kevin Koe 7 Mike McEwen 4
Chelsea Carey 9 Sherry Middaugh 7
Cathy Overton-Clapham 4 Stefanie Lawton 3
Crystal Webster 9 Heather Nedohin 6 (extra end)
John Epping 8 Jeff Stoughton 7
Glenn Howard 7 Kevin Martin 6 (extra end)
Jennifer Jones 9 Sherry Middaugh 8
Stefanie Lawton 8 Crystal Webster 4
Jeff Stoughton 7 Mike McEwen 5
Kevin Koe 6 Kevin Martin 3
Glenn Howard 7 Brad Gushue 3
Jennifer Jones 7 Chelsea Carey 5
Heather Nedohin 10 Cathy Overton-Clapham 8 (extra end)
Mike McEwen 9 John Epping 8
Kevin Koe 8 Brad Gushue 7
Stefanie Lawton 6 Chelsea Carey 5
Heather Nedohin 8 Sherry Middaugh 6
Crystal Webster 8 Cathy Overton-Clapham 4
Jeff Stoughton 10 Kevin Martin 4
Glenn Howard 10 John Epping 4
Sherry Middaugh 8 Crystal Webster 7
Stefanie Lawton 7 Jennifer Jones 5
Jeff Stoughton 9 Brad Gushue 5
Glenn Howard 12 Kevin Koe 4
Mike McEwen 8 Kevin Martin 6
Heather Nedohin 8 Jennifer Jones 3
Chelsea Carey 7 Cathy Overton-Clapham 4
Tiebreakers (if necessary), 8 a.m.
Women's semifinal, 12:30 p.m.
Men's semifinal, 6:30 p.m.
Women's championship, 9:30 a.m.
Men's championship, 2:30 p.m.
(Stoughton vs. semifinal winner)