SUMMERSIDE – John Morris and his rink from Vernon, B.C., are headed to the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Ottawa.
That event, which will be held from Dec. 2 to 10, will decide the Canadian men’s and women’s four-person curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in February.
Morris, third stone Jim Cotter, second stone Catlin Schneider and lead Tyrel Griffith secured a berth with a 4-3 win over Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher at the 2017 Road to the Roar Pre-Trials event at Eastlink Arena on Sunday morning.
“We dealt with a bit of adversity, and it hasn’t been our best year,” admitted Morris, 38. “We seem to be really putting it together now and I know we want it as much, if not more, than any other team out there.
“The last few games we played were our best games of the year, really putting it all together. That last one (versus Bottcher), there was no inch given by either team. You couldn’t let off your focus for one bit the entire game.”
The two teams met in the A section final of the playoff round, and the emotion of the victory was evident as the Morris team hugged following the post-game handshakes.
“When you win a game like that, a lot of positive emotions run at the end of the game,” said Morris. “We were quite happy to celebrate. I’m really proud of the guys right now.”
Neither team could generate a deuce in the very closely-contested game.
“The ice was nice and keen, and it wasn’t curling a ton,” said Morris, who lost the 2013 Roar of the Rings final to Brad Jacobs. “You have to take what the ice gives you sometimes, and we felt we needed to stay in control that game.
“We never panicked and you always want to have the hammer coming home tied up.”
A big shot in the ninth end that led to Morris being able to blank was a key triple takeout by Cotter.
“He made a really big shot in the ninth end,” said Morris. “We weren’t looking really good and we were going to be forced to one, but that triple really changed the complexion of the end.”