ALBERTON -- The Dominion Legion Curling Championship comes down to a play-off game this afternoon between Steve Elder’s Nova Scotia/Nunavut rink from Fairview Legion in Halifax and Blair Goethals’ Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario foursome from Deloraine Legion in Manitoba.
St. Anthony’s Legion in Bloomfield is the host for the championship. Games are being played at Western Community Curling Club in Alberton.
Elder and Goethals both concluded round robin play Wednesday morning with victories and identical 5-1 records.
Elder has a little more time to rest up for the 2 p.m. tie-breaker as he dispatched Saskatchewan 7-1 in six ends in Wednesday’s 9 a.m. draw while Goethals didn’t get in until P.E.I. skip Mel Bernard wrecked while attempting to squeeze through a narrow port to the four-four with his final shot in 10. Already counting one, and with the game tied 3-3, Goethals didn’t have to throw his hammer. Bernard had thought long and hard about an angle tap-back with his final stone before deciding on the port.
The Fairview Legion team had a chance to watch the final ends of the Deloraine/Summerside Legion game and Elder admits he was in P.E.I.’s camp, because a P.E.I. win in that game would have given NS/NU the championship.
Undeterred, though, Elder is prepared for the tie-breaker, intent on playing the same sort of game that gave them an 8-3 win over Goethals in the round-robin.
With their loss, P.E.I. slipped to 3-3 in the standings and into a three-way tie for third place with Saskatchewan and Quebec.
Newfoundland and Labrador picked up their first win of the round robin in the Wednesday morning draw against Bob Gallaugher’s BC/Yukon team to finished tied with Gallaugher at 1-5
Goethals admitted the game got even more important once NS won on the adjacent ice, because they had to win to advance.
“But you just have to take it as it is, play the best you can and, if you win, you win,” he reflected following the lowest scoring game of the round robin.
Going up against Elder again, the only team to beat him in round robin, Goethals reflected, “I guess, now that you’re out there, you might as well try to win it.” He was expecting a tough game.
Elder, who said his “screwed up” knees have convinced him to retire after the Legion Nationals, admitted it would be nice to go out on top. He already has one Legion National on his resume, with Ontario in 2006. He said his team is going into the final with a positive attitude because of their round-robin victory over Goethals.
“We both have the same record, so it’s good to see a championship final and I just enjoy being out there.”
He is also expecting a closer game this time.