A fantastic last-rock shot by skip Wayne Middaugh gave Ontario’s Glenn Howard’s Wild Card 3 rink a deuce and a stunning 4-3 win over Steve Laycock’s Team B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men’s curling championship in Calgary.
The loss drops B.C. to 1-4 and all but eliminates them from championship-round contention. There are six rinks ahead of the provincial champs who have three round-robin games left, so the best B.C. can finish is 4-4. The top four rinks from Pool A meet the top four teams from Pool B in Friday’s championship round carrying their preliminary round records with them.
Laycock, from Saskatoon, had the hammer in the opening end and picked up a single point. Middaugh countered with a pair in two, and B.C. tied the game in the third.
The teams blanked the next four ends with Laycock holding the hammer. He scored a single point in the eighth. The ninth end was blanked, setting the stage for Middaugh to score two with the hammer for the win.
Laycock, Vernon’s Jim Cotter, who is throwing fourth stones, and lead Rick Sawatsky of Kelowna are each appearing in their 10th Brier while second Andrew Nerpin of Kelowna is playing in his third national championship.
The team’s fifth player, former Canadian and World junior champion Tyler Tardi of Cloverdale, has yet to make an appearance.
Heading into play Wednesday, Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson was alone in first place in Pool A at 5-0. Middaugh was second at 4-1, while New Brunswick’s James Grattan and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs were 4-2. Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher is at 3-2 and Wild Card 1 Mike McEwen of Manitoba is at 2-3.
Laycock is tied with Gregory Skauge of the Northwest Territories at 1-4. The two rinks meet at 12:30 p.m. Pacific Wednesday, March 10. Dustin Mikkelsen of the Yukon is 0-6.