SUMMERSIDE – Mike MacEwen has come to Summerside with one goal in mind for the 2014 Players’ Championship.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Mike McEwen makes a shot while second stone Matt Wozniak and lead Denni Neufeld are in position to sweep. The action took place during McEwen’s 8-3 win over Niklas Edin at the 2014 Players’ Championship in Summerside on Wednesday afternoon.
“To win,” said MacEwen. “We haven’t won a Grand Slam, and lost in the finals of two Grand Slams.”
MacEwen, who is one of three 2-0 (won-lost) teams, returns to action against Jeff Stoughton in an all-Winnipeg matchup on Thursday at 1 p.m.
“It’s a perfect start,” said MacEwen following Wednesday afternoon’s 8-3 win over Niklas Edin of Sweden. “We had a good draw for our draw-to-the-button score, and we have a pretty tough back half with (Brad) Jacobs and Stoughton in there too.
“It was important to win the first two.”
MacEwen opened the season’s final event of the Grand Slam of Curling with a 6-4 win over Switzerland’s Sven Michel on Tuesday night.
As for his game against Edin, MacEwen commented: “I thought we handled the ice pretty good. It was a see-saw battle, but it is like that with the five-rock (rule).
“There are going to be a bunch of difficult situations regardless how you are playing.”
Brad Gushue and Kevin Koe join McEwen atop the standings, also at 2-0.
“It’s a good start,” said Gushue rink second stone Adam Casey of Seven Mile Bay following a 7-2 win over David Murdoch on Wednesday afternoon. “Murdoch is fresh off an Olympic silver medal, they are a great team and anytime you can beat those guys it’s always good.”
Casey said a key for the Gushue rink against Murdoch was quickly adjusting to the ice.
“We got our draw weight down quick,” said Casey. “That’s going to be key over a long week.
“We will always be able to make our hits, but if we get onto the draw weight that’s an edge.”
Koe, who opened with a 7-6 win over Steve Laycock on Tuesday night, defeated David Murdoch 7-3 on Wednesday night while Gushue won 6-4 over Kevin Martin. John Epping outscored Brad Jacobs 8-5, Glen Howard edged Laycock 4-3 and Niklas Edin defeated Jeff Stoughton 7-5.
Six teams – Martin, Epping, Jacobs, Howard, Edin and Stoughton – are all 1-1 while Laycock, Murdoch and Sven Michel are 0-2.
A highlight of the afternoon draw for many fans was the game between Martin and Howard, who have played some classics over the years. With both rinks announcing roster changes for next season, it could possibly be the final meeting between the two teams with their current teams. Martin prevailed 6-4.
“To win. We haven’t won a Grand Slam, and lost in the finals of two Grand Slams.” Mike McEwen
“It was a good game,” said Martin. “There weren’t very many misses at all. It was a high percentage game by both teams.
“We got a little bit lucky in seven. Glenn was just a touch heavy for a draw for two.
“It was a tough draw though, and we were one up with hammer coming home instead of tied. The big turning point the whole game was one shot. It was a well-played (game).”
Martin has also made a position switch for the Players’ Championship as regular third stone David Nedohin and second stone Marc Kennedy have switched positions.
Martin explained the move: “With the five-rock rule, it seems to me the seconds play a whole lot more come-around draw shots, the thirds now play more hits and run-backs.
“Dave is really good at the draw and tapping stuff, Marc is really good at the hitting and the five-rock rule seems to make sense to switch them.
“I think all the players love it (five-rock rule). Dave played really well and so did Marc.
“As you noticed during the game, Dave played a lot of set-up shots and Marc threw a lot of hits. You may as well go with a lineup where the players get to play with comfortable shots.
“We talked about doing it, we decided to do it and it turned out good.”
The Players’ Championship features 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams on the World Curling Tour.
Men’s results at Players’ Championship on Wednesday:
1 p.m. Draw
Brad Jacobs 6 Sven Michel 4
Kevin Martin 6 Glenn Howard 4
Brad Gushue 7 David Murdoch 2 (7 ends)
Mike McEwen 8 Niklas Edin 3
Jeff Stoughton 4 John Epping 3
8:30 p.m. Draw
Glenn Howard 4 Steve Laycock 3
Kevin Koe 7 David Murdoch 3
John Epping 8 Brad Jacobs 5
Niklas Edin 7 Jeff Stoughton 5
Brad Gushue 6 Kevin Martin 4
Note: See page B2 for standings and schedule.