OK I am in place, and ready to go. What a great year for this competition - everybody is a previous champion! Stoughton, as explained for somewhat silly reasons in a previous post, is a favorite of mine, but I also just like the sheer competence and solidity of Menard and team from Quebec. I cannot really cheer against either of them, so it is perfect. I can simply cheer for a great match!
An early Manitoba error leaves Quebec, halfway through the end, with a couple of rocks in the house. No guards now. Manitoba has the hammer. Now three Quebec rocks in the house. Park executes one double. Menard wanted to guard, but his team overrules him and decides to split the house. And done very nicely! The broadcasters are covering the week for Quebec, which was on a terrible downward arc in the middle, but they finished with five straight wins. Manitoba had a somewhat more scattered history in the week. But they are both here now! Menard removes a Stoughton stone and rolls beautifully away from his other rock in the house. Stoughton sees he needs to freeze. Big miss! Heavy and inside and wide open! Menard removes it. Stoughton has to draw or hit for one. Draw, it seems. Nicely into the 4-foot. Sylvain clears away the two in the rings, so there is now one Manitoba rock in the house and two Quebec rocks out front of the house. Manitoba put another rock near the other one and look vulnerable to a double. They hit and roll too far - leave one Manitoba rock behind the center guard. Manitoba remove the Quebec rock and have two in the front of the house. Quebec do a runback and it clears the house of Manitoba rocks. The shooter sits open.
Vic pointed out that nobody has ever won the Brier out of a tiebreak! Not like the distaff side at all, as we pointed out during the Scotties.
Lead rocks finish with one Manitoba rock in the front of the house and a guard from Quebec rather too close to the house. Manitoba clear teh Quebec guard but it seems to me there is a double. Rather, they try a hit and roll, which rolls too far. Manitoba hit and roll, incrementally, still open. Everybody is trying to get behind the Manitoba rock just in front of the house at 11 o'clock. This one rolls too far inside. Cathy Gauthier thinks there are some differences in the ice when there is only one match in the afternoon. Manitoba hit and roll over to the open side. Quebec freeze to the open rock, which is in the back of the 8-foot. A little too deep. Park blasts it out, leaving the shooter still hanging on to the house at 4 o'clock. Quebec's freeze attempt misses by a foot. Stoughton nose hits it - Manitoba lie two. Freeze attempt winds up being a big bump instead. Stoughton removes it, leaving his own in place nicely, and clearing his shooter. Menard is hitting and takes one.
Warning - got to check the golf tournament at Doral from time to time so I might appear absent-minded.
Quebec go in behind a Manitoba guard. Manitoba end up behind that rock and behind the T-line. Quebec get an OK angle freeze to that. Manitoba bump a bit too much - just behind the t-line. Quebec remove all Manitoba rocks from the house, as predicted by Cathy Gauthier. Four Quebec rocks in the house. Manitoba get a nice hit and roll into the covered side. Quebec's third comes up a bit short on a freeze to the Manitoba stone. Park punches it back, jamming a bit - Quebec is shot, but the front of the house is largely open. Menard asks for and greats a fine clean-up shot. Lots of Quebec rockery in the house, one Manitoba stone, out at the open edge. Manitoba put a rock in the front of the 4-foot, moving all Quebec rocks to behind the T-line. Well, except for the one up front. Stoughton rock in the middle is gone - time to freeze into a pocket. Stoughton's rock stops very nicely in front of Quebec backing. Menard's removal attempt leaves Manitoba counting one - draw for two. Made.
This is exhausting, just watching.
Sorry - off checking out golf. As I return - let me await one more Manitoba shot, which should simplify what I have to describe; no guards, two Manitoba rocks in the front of the house, a Quebec biter at the back. Quebec remove the outside Manitoba rock. Removed by Manitoba. Favor returned. Quebec hit and roll almost into cover, but not. Which Stoughton proves. Manitoba lie two now. The biter is still biting and the double seems possible. Menard makes it. Stoughton clears the house, removing both Quebec rocks and his own! Quebec blanks.
END #5: 3-1 Manitoba, Quebec hammer.
Is there a new policy at TSN not to show the opening rocks of an end? Not nice if so.
Quebec are a bit heavy trying to get behind a guard and Manitoba kill it, so they are counting 2 behind a front guard with a Quebec guard out front on the right.
Sorry - some editing disaster. With skip rocks left, Quebec have shot in the four-foot behind cover, with a Manitoba rock crowded in there too. Stoughton does not quite get the freeze he wanted. Menard sits on top of a Manitoba rock in front of his scoring rock. I do not get where this is going. Stoughton maybe guards the right-hand side (looking back to the hack). Some complicated shot Quebec tried at least does not cause a loss of a ton of points. They get one.
Front guard Quebec and Quebec rock frozen to Manitoba rock at the back of the 4-foot. Not sure how we got here. Manitoba tap-back separates the Manitoba rock from the Quebec rock - Manitoba frozen in front now. Sylvain tries to freeze at the front and comes up about two ffet short. Manitoba peel the front guard. Another one goes up. And away. And back. And away. Now Quebec attack the house. Menard frees the Manitoba rock by removing his own with a tapback. Stoughton hit and stick on a Quebec rock. Menard is trying a crazy tap-back double, and comes up just short, leaving Stoughton a simple hit for two. 5-2 after 6. This is likely over.
My heart is really not in this at the moment. House is filling with Manitoba rocks, though they are punching those back to behind the T-line so there is some hope. But Manitoba is not missing much. Giant miss by Martin Crete, basically going through the house instead of freezing. With last skip rocks, Quebec have two in the house, though a double seems to be possible. Stoughton gets the double! Quebec try to blank. And succeed.
Halfway through, Sylvain puts a great rock into a pocket backed by some Manitoba rocks. Park clears away some of the backing. Quebec toss a guard into the 12-foot and Manitoba peel it. Quebec now into an utter mess - piles of Manitoba rocks and no great positions for the Quebec rocks. Now four Manitoba rocks in the house and one Quebec one, sitting forlornly off on the side. Menard gets rid of three Manitoba rocks. Stoughton looking at a big double. And gets it perfectly? How did this team finish only at 7-4? Another blank? Yup.
Gushue is funny. He notes that he hopes Stoughton is using up all his doubles. Indeed! If this Manitoba team had been present most of the week there would have been no tiebreak? Who is this masked man? OK, he is not masked.
I am not even describing this end, Manitoba are so totally in control. Quebec finally have to take one, to leave the Manitoba lead at 5-3 and give Manitoba the hammer.
This is the Stoughton I remember! Lovely to watch. I hope we see him again tomorrow.
I may be sketchy. Seems to me this will quickly become a rock-counting exercise. Fowler brilliantly does a double peel. That pretty much ices it. Could they be the Jennifer Jones of this tournament and actually get focus only in the face of doom? It is again Manitoba after all! I feel sorry for Quebec, who have played really well, and even very consistently today, but have run up against a wall. Even Cathy Gauthier cites Jennifer Jones, and watching these guys today, I do wonder. This is not the team thatwas so vulnerable earlier in the week. On the other hand, the men's game is SO Competitive, and Howard and Martin will not roll over, nor will Gushue! We are down to one rock now. Menard clearly knows it, as does Stoughton. Two class acts. One won, one lost. I sure hope we see a lot more of Menard in the future.
Manitoba go forward. Thanks so much to both teams!
I am expecting Doc to cover tonight's Page 1-2 playoff.
Labels: 2009 Brier