Three teams share perfect 2-0 marks after Day One of the Labatt Tankard Final Six P.E.I. Provincial Men's Curling Championship. Six teams commenced round robin play Thursday afternoon at the Western Community Curling Club in Alberton.
Leading the pack are John Likely, Eddie MacKenzie and Rod MacDonald rinks. The Bill Hope, Tom Fetterly and Robert Campbell rinks all have 0-2 records.
"It's a nice start," said MacKenzie, but he wasn't about to push the envelope: "There's still a lot of curling left."
In fact, all teams play in 1 and 6 p.m. draws today and wrap up the round robin with a draw Saturday at noon. Then the playoffs (or tie-breakers, if necessary) get underway.
The first-place team at the end of the round robin, will await the winner of a semifinal game between the second- and third-place teams to decide who will represent P.E.I. at the Tim Hortons Brier next month in Halifax.
Defending champion MacDonald had wins of 8-3 over Robert Campbell and 7-4 over Bill Hope. Likely defeated Tom Fetterly 8-4 and finished the day with an 8-7 nail-biter over Campbell. MacKenzie scored his wins, 10-7 over Hope and 9-4 over Fetterly. Graduating junior Adam Casey was sparing on the Summerside rink for Fetterly Friday. All other teams in the Final Six are from the Charlottetown Curling Club.
Likely drew the four-foot on his final shot in 10 to out-count two Campbell stones and break a 7-7 tie.
Did he consider hitting instead?
"We were drawing all the way," he said.
In today's 1 p. m. draw Likely goes up against the defending champ and is treating it like any other game.
"Every game's important. You just want to get through the first five games and hope you're still playing," he stressed. "It's a real even field. Anybody can beat anybody at any time," he added.
MacDonald was in a close one with Hope until the eighth end when he caught a break and stole two for a 6-4 lead.
"(Hope) came down the centre," he recalled. "It's a little fudgey down the centre, so you have to throw a little bit extra and he just didn't do it."
After a steal of one in nine it was just a matter of running his clubmate out of rocks in the 10th.
Teams took a few ends to adjust to the speed of the Western Community Curling Club ice.
"It's quick, really quick in places, especially the first few ends," MacDonald noted.