MacKenzie rink has tough opener at Brier

Charles
Charles Reid
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Team Prince Edward Island will compete at the Tim Hortons Brier beginning Saturday in Kamloops, B.C. From left are skip Eddie MacKenzie, third Anson Carmody, second Tyler MacKenzie and lead Sean Ledgerwood. The team includes alternate Phil Gorveatt and coach Les Rogers.

P.E.I. champions to face Stoughton to start Canadian men's curling championship in B.C.

Eddie MacKenzie won’t waste any time getting into the thick of things this week at the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier national men’s curling championship.

The foursome out of the Charlottetown Curling Complex faces Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton in its opening game Saturday.

Stoughton has skipped three Brier and two world championship teams. He’s also a two-time Brier runner-up, including last year.

“I expect he’ll be strong from the get go,” MacKenzie said this week. “I think to face them early gets you in the mindset of what level you have to play at to be competitive.”

MacKenzie and his squad of third Anson Carmody, new second Tyler MacKenzie and lead Sean Ledgerwood left for Kamloops, B.C.,  site of the Brier, early Wednesday morning. The team’s alternate is Phil Gorveatt and the coach is Les Rogers.

The Page playoffs and any tiebreakers go Friday, March 7. The semifinal is Saturday, March 8, while the bronze- and gold-medal games are Sunday, March 9.

The Charlottetown rink defended its P.E.I. Tankard after beating Jamie Newsome in the final earlier this month in Montague.

In last year’s Brier, the MacKenzie foursome finished 2-9 and out of the playoffs. The Brad Jacobs rink from Northern Ontario won the final 11-4 over Stoughton.

Jacobs recently won the Olympic gold medal and won’t be back to defend his Brier title.

The Jeff Currie rink is this year’s Northern Ontario champion, but MacKenzie, in his third Brier as skip, still expects a tough field.

“I think 7-4 will (get you in the playoffs). But we’re not focused on that. We’re focusing on playing our game and seeing where that takes us,” said MacKenzie. “We’re just trying to peak at the right time. We’re probably in the right frame of mind.”

The Island squad will practise today and Friday morning.

Islanders Brett Gallant and Adam Casey will throw third and second stones, respectively, for Brad Gushue’s Newfoundland and Labrador rink at the Brier. Brett’s father Peter is the team’s coach.

TSN will broadcast the competition beginning Saturday.

(www.curling.c)

When They Play

Schedule for the Eddie MacKenzie rink at the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier in Kamloops, B.C. (all times Atlantic):

u Saturday - vs. Manitoba, 5:30 p.m.

u Sunday - vs. Nova Scotia, 12:30 p.m.; vs. Northern Ontario, 10:30 p.m.

u Monday, March 3 - vs. Quebec, 5:30 p.m.; vs. vs. British Columbia, 10:30 p.m.

u Tuesday, March 4 - vs. Newfoundland and Labrador, 5:30 p.m.; vs. Ontario, 10:30 p.m.

u Wednesday, March 5 - vs. New Brunswick, noon; vs. Saskatchewan, 10:30 p.m.

u Thursday, March 6 - vs. Alberta, 5:30 p.m.

u Friday, March 7 - vs. Northwest Territories, 12:30 p.m.

Geographic location: Manitoba, Northern Ontario, Kamloops Newfoundland and Labrador Charlottetown Montague.In Nova Scotia Quebec British Columbia Ontario New Brunswick Saskatchewan Alberta Northwest Territories

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