McEwen hands Morris first loss at Roar of the Rings

John Morris' Vernon-Kelowna rink 2-1 at Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Winnipeg.

Mike McEwen of Winnipeg picked up his first win of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings with a 7-5 decision over John Morris’ Vernon-Kelowna rink in front of a hometown crowd Tuesday morning at the MTS Centre.

McEwen, backed by B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak, and Denni Neufeld, ran Morris out of rocks in the 10th end after taking his first lead with a triple in eight. In the final end, Morris – Jim Cotter (throwing fourth), Tyrel Griffith, Rick Sawatsky and coach Pat Ryan – tried to set up corner guards, but McEwen shut them down to improve to 1-2. Morris is 2-1.

“We’re still in this thing,” McEwen told the Canadian Curling Association. “I think you get to that third loss and you might still have a chance, but you definitely don’t control your own destiny. Hopefully we can get one more today (vs Toronto’s John Epping Tuesday night) and we’ll get back to even ground.”

Morris battled Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton in the late draw Tuesday, and will take on Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. today at 11:30 a.m.

Against McEwen, Morris blanked one, and then he and the Winnipeg rink swapped deuces over the next four ends. After the fifth-end break, Morris blanked six, but had to settle for a single in seven.

In the eighth end, Cotter jammed a hit and McEwen drew to the four-foot to count three.

“That’s probably the first time a skip’s missed against us in a key moment in a game,” McEwen said. “Before it was, you know the other two games, it was us doing that in a tight game.”

Morris opened the eight-team spiel with two straight wins, icing Penetanguishene, Ont.’s Glenn Howard 8-6 in Sunday’s opening draw, followed by a 6-4 comeback win over Calgary’s Kevin Koe Monday.

In other Tuesday-morning action, Stoughton (1-2) squeaked out a 4-3 decision over Epping (1-2). Stoughton made a double takeout on his final shot for the win.

Jacobs improved to 3-0 after brushing back Howard (1-2) 6-5. Jacobs scored three points in the fourth end and stole a single in the eighth end to take the victory.

Edmonton’s Kevin Martin (3-0) also remained undefeated after some last-shot heroics. Trailing by two in the final end, Martin snuck by a centre guard and made a double for a 6-5 win against Calgary’s Kevin Koe (0-3).

The winner of the round-robin heads to Sunday’s noon final. The No. 2 and 3 seeds face off in a 11:30 a.m. semifinal Saturday.

The champion will represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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