B.C. will hope to finish with a .500 record at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men’s curling championships in Calgary.
Team Laycock, with Steve Laycock of Saskatoon at skip, Vernon’s Jim Cotter throwing fourth rocks and the Kelowna front-end of lead Rick Sawatsky and second Andrew Nerpin improved to 2-4 in the preliminary round Wednesday, March 10, with a 10-5 win in nine ends over Gregory Skauge of the Northwest Territories (1-5).
B.C. will wrap up play Thursday, March 11, against Jason Gunnlaugson of Manitoba (5-1) and Brendan Bottcher of Alberta (4-2).
There was scoring in every end in the B.C.-NWT matchup. Skauge scored one in the first and the teams traded deuces in the second and third ends.
Laycock’s rink racked up three points in the fourth to take a 5-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Skauge picked up one in the fifth, but B.C. responded with a single in six and a steal of two in the seventh for an 8-4 advantage. The Territories conceded after B.C. picked up another deuce in the ninth end.
While there was scoring in every end in the Laycock-Skauge match, Brad Edwards needed only single points in three ends to hand Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson a 3-0 defeat, the first loss for the Prairie squad. Gunnlaugson is 5-1 while Edwards’ Northern Ontario rink improved to 5-2 with its fourth straight win.
Wayne Middaugh’s Ontario Wild Card rink improved to 5-1 with a 7-6, 11-end victory over James Grattan of New Brunswick, who forced the extra end by scoring three with hammer in the 10th. Grattan is 4-3.
Bottcher, who has lost the last three Brier finals, needed just eight ends to beat Manitoba’s Mike McEwen’s Wild Card rink 9-3. McEwen is 2-4.
In Pool B, four-time champ Kevin Koe’s Wild Card rink from Calgary is 6-0. John Epping of Ontario, Matt Dunstone of Saskatchewan and defending Brier champ Brad Gushue’s Team Canada rink from Newfoundland/Labrador are all 4-2. Michael Fournier of Quebec is 4-3.
The top four rinks from both pools advance to Friday’s championship round, carrying their round-robin records with them.