McLennan fires blanks in mixed final
St. Albert rink shut out 7-0 by Saville foursome at Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 06:00 am
Jasper Place – Wednesday’s mixed final ended sooner than expected for the Doug McLennan rink at the 51st annual Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions.
The President’s Cup playoff champions from the St. Albert Curling Club called it quits after six ends and down 7-0 to the Les Rogers rink from the Saville Community Sports Centre and alternate Darcy Corcoran as the winning skip.
McLennan took the bullet for the loss after getting skunked on the scoreboard.
“I didn’t play exceptionally well today,” he said with a shrug of the shoulders. “It’s disappointing not to play well. The score is secondary to not playing well because I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”
McLennan’s supporting cast included third Alison Howes, second Colin Jenkyns and alternate Nicole Bellamy, filling in for lead Lauren Jenkyns, who was skipping her St. Albert women’s rink to victory on the next sheet.
“I thought everybody played OK today, but boy oh boy we didn’t get one break. We didn’t get any luck,” he said. “The ice is not great but it’s the same for both sides obviously. There are some little hills out there and if you catch one it’s going sideways.”
The Saville foursome of third Leslie Rogers, second Norm Bassett and lead Jenilee Goertzen – four-time defending Saville champions, perennial provincial contenders and past winners at cities – blanked the first end, counted one in two then went on a stealing spree with one in four, three in five and two in six before the handshakes started.
“My team played well. I don’t think they missed a shot from start to finish. Everybody was on tonight,” said Corcoran, who filled in at skip during the second week of cities with Rogers in Arizona. “We also made them make difficult shots and this is tricky ice to make even a simple shot on. It was hard to put the broom in the right spot with this ice.”
In four McLennan was shooting for a deuce but gave up one to trail by two.
“I threw that real nice one to bump him off the can and roll over and get shot and had even an easier one with my second one and for whatever reason – maybe I’m a little light, maybe I’m a little in, I don’t know – but it curls up and chips the guard and they steal one so instead of 2-1 for us it’s 2-0 for them going to five and now we’re trying to scramble a little bit,” he said.
Giving up three in five signaled the beginning of the end for McLennan.
“He makes a real good come-around and I just played the wrong shot. The come-around he makes is sort of biting the four-foot. I should’ve played the open side and just draw to the button and it would be 2-1 for him but it didn’t happen,” he said
Corcoran felt the final was too close to call until the fifth end.
“It was really tight early and if he wouldn’t have missed that shot in five it would’ve been a different game,” he said. “The ice had its spots where there is almost hills on there and once it comes off the hill it just goes sideways so when he got off it he was on a little bit of a different track and it just curled on him.”
It was desperate times in six for the winners of the 2010 cities.
“When you don’t have a point you’re pressing and hoping for something big and that last end we’re trying to score two at least and three preferably,” said McLennan, who was unable to position his first shot in a spot where Corcoran couldn’t get at and his final delivery missed the mark.
It was the second-straight year McLennan lost the final at 12-team competition. The three-time defending St. Albert champions and winners of seven President’s Cups in eight years from the Thursday night mixed league rattled off four consecutive victories at cities before the slip-up in the final.
“It’s disappointing when you go undefeated through the thing and these guys had a loss (in the tournament opener before winning five straight) and they’re coming up from B. We didn’t really have a tough game until the final,” McLennan said. “Everybody played well in cities and in our club playoffs we played fabulous.”
HOG LINES: The Craig King rink of St. Albert pulled off an eight-ender in last week’s win over Lancaster Park in the B bracket of the 12-team men’s draw. It was the first of three victories before dropping Tuesday’s semifinal to Sherwood Park to finish 3-2.
The 2013 city champions were curling in their 10th Tournament of Champions in the team’s 22-year history.