Congratulations to Team McEwen, winners of the 2015 Point Optical Curling Classic! They went 7-1, having to qualify through the B-road after losing the A-event qualifier to Team Laycock. In top form as usual, they defeated Team Shuster in the quarterfinal and Team Jacobs in the semifinal before facing Team Carruthers in the final, winning 8-4 in seven ends of play. Now back to back winners of this event, Team McEwen takes home some nice prize money ($11,000 CDN) and perhaps more importantly valuable CTRS points. Right now Team Gushue sits atop the leaderboard, with Team Kevin Koe in the number two spot…but not having played this weekend McEwen and others will narrow that gap. The season is in full swing and the race is on for those coveted points…with the sheer caliber of talent and depth of teams in Canadian Men’s Curling, it’s set to be a good one.
It was a great field in Saskatoon, featuring several of my favorite teams. Team Jacobs played well, qualifying through the A side and defeating Team Edin in the quarterfinals before losing a close match to Team McEwen in the semifinal. Team Edin once again found themselves taking the hard road, having to battle through the C event to qualify. Overall though they are off to a better start than last year, and are setting themselves up for another great year. I think their decision to live and train in Ottawa for much of the season, and to play more in Canada overall will pay tremendous dividends down the road. Team Shuster also had to qualify via the C road, including a battle of a game against Team Lyburn in the C Event Qualifier. They had a hell of a great season last year, and from what I’ve seen so far this year is going to be an even better one. I’ve become quite a fan of Team Carruthers as well, and they had another great event. After dropping their first game against Team Thomas they qualified through the B Event, defeating Team Bottcher in the quarterfinal and hometown favorite Team Laycock in the semifinal before falling to Team McEwen in the final.
Looking at my predictions for the event, I predicted an impressive (at least I think so) 7 out of 8 qualifiers. I had Team McEwen in the final, but predicted that they would be defeated by Team Laycock. I like both these teams as well, and both of them are definitely off to great starts for the year so far. I had predicted that Team Epping would qualify, but they lost to Team Edin in the C Event Qualifier. As I predicted, Team Plys did not qualify but did have better results than in Oakville. Granted, they only won two games, but their losses were to Laycock, Carruthers, and Edin. I like this rink, and I think they will continue to get better and have a better season than last year for sure. On a side note, I did see that Korey Dropkin filled in for Ryan Brunt as lead for this event. If you’re not familiar, Dropkin is the skip of the Junior USA HPP rink and also one half of the top USA mixed-doubles team. Trust me, this is a name you will be seeing in USA Curling for quite some time.
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