Morning Star Staff
It could be a short week in Saskatchewan for Jim Cotter.
The veteran Vernon skip was 0-2 heading into a must-win game Thursday night against Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont. at the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event, the Meridian Canadian Open, in Yorkton, which features 16 teams on both the men’s and women’s side.
Cotter, backed by third Ryan Kuhn, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky, needs to win three in a row to qualify for the playoffs.
The Vernon crew opened Tuesday at the Gallagher Centre with a 6-2 loss to Saskatoon’s Steven Laycock – who was born in Yorkton.
Laycock, who finished runner-up at the Canadian Open a year ago, had the crowd on his side right from the opening ceremonies as his team hit the ice to Thin Lizzy’s classic The Boys Are Back in Town.
Team Laycock didn’t disappoint, opening the match with the hammer and getting on the board first with a deuce in the third end and never trailed from there.
Cotter had a chance to tie it in the fourth but had to settle for a single as his final stone was light and sweepers Sawatsky and Griffith were unable to drag it into the house.
Laycock added another point in the fifth and held Cotter to one in six. The rinks shook hands after Laycock scored three in the seventh.
The loss dropped Cotter into the B event where he faced reigning Olympic champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Jacobs rolled to a 7-3 victory.
Jacobs, with the hammer, opened the scoring with a single in the first end. Cotter tied it with one in the second and stole one in the third for a 2-1 advantage. Jacobs responded with a deuce in the fourth and stole two in the fifth for a 5-2 lead.
Brad Gushue of Newfoundland took on David Murdoch of Stirling, Scotland in one men’s A-event semifinal Thursday while Calgary’s Kevin Koe played the winner of a game between Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen and Toronto’s John Epping in the other semi. The event wraps up Sunday afternoon.