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Saskatchewan suffers first loss to Nova Scotia at Montana's Brier

Saskatchewan skip Mike McEwen delivers a rock while playing Team Alberta-Koe during the Brier, in Regina, on Sunday, March 3, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Saskatchewan skip Mike McEwen delivers a rock while playing Team Alberta-Koe during the Brier, in Regina, on Sunday, March 3, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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Team Saskatchewan (3-1) fell to Team Nova Scotia (2-3) on Monday night – marking the team's first loss of the tournament.

“We just collectively didn’t create enough chances. We certainly left some points out there. That’s all it was, we needed to convert one more, two point end,” said skip Mike McEwen following the loss.

In the first end Saskatchewan had the hammer but finished with a takeout for a blank to make it 0-0 after one and keep the hammer heading into the second end.

Nova Scotia came out strong and were sitting two as Saskatchewan skip Mike McEwen was set to throw his first stone of the end. His first rock hit a guard and rolled toward the back of the house to leave Nova Scotia with one. Skip, Matthew Manuel, placed a guard on his final throw. That pushed McEwen to finish the end with a successful takeout and garnered the extra stone to make it 2-0 after two ends.

In the third end Nova Scotia tied it up at two a piece after a successful final draw by Manuel. Saskatchewan was now heading into the fourth with the hammer.

McEwen made a double takeout to leave the house empty with his first throw. That lead to another blank end as Saskatchewan kept the hammer heading into the fifth end. The score remained 2-2.

“We certainly had a chance mid-game and didn’t convert. They didn’t really outplay us. We kind of beat ourselves. We had a couple easy two’s where we didn’t get rocks in the house,” McEwen said.

In the fifth end McEwen missed his final throw and Nova Scotia was able to steal one to make it 3-2 as they take the hammer heading into the sixth end.

A successful run back shot from McEwen landed Saskatchewan one to tie the game 3-3 heading into the seventh end.

Saskatchewan held Nova Scotia to just one in the seventh as Team Manual took the lead 4-3 but McEwen would have the hammer heading into the eighth end.

The eighth end forced McEwen to showcase his accuracy as Nova Scotia had the potential to score three and Saskatchewan had a lot of red stones to work around in order to land a yellow and score. But McEwen showed up and landed his team one point to tie the game once again, 4-4 as the final two ends were on tap.

The ninth end came down a tight last shot by Manuel as he landed his Nova Scotia rink one point to take the lead with one end to go.

Saskatchewan had the hammer in the tenth and was down 5-4 and with just 2:28 remaining on their clock.

“Part of that is playing on a new surface, the texture of the rocks. But I actually didn’t think that (the time) was the problem tonight. The surface was wonky. I don’t know if it was an airflow or a temperature thing, but that was the most inconsistent the surface has been. We’ve only played four games but that was night and day from this weekend,” shared McEwen who went on to sympathize that ice making is tough but there were some big shots missed throughout the day that saw major upsets at the Brier.

McEwen hinted the ice may have played a significant role in that.

“You saw some really uncharacteristic missed by high end players today. You don’t see Bottcher miss a draw by 10 feet,” he stated regarding Team Alberta Bottcher’s loss to Northern Ontario earlier in the day.

On Monday night in the tenth end, McEwen found himself in a similar situation but looking for a major takeout instead. He was facing a number of red stones but missed almost completely giving up two to Nova Scotia for a 7-4 final.

“We just weren’t able to play our style of game. They did a great job kind of making us uncomfortable to be quite honest,” he shared.

Team Saskatchewan will take on Team Sluchinski on Tuesday at 2:00 pm. The loss drops Saskatchewan to third place in Pool B.

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