THUNDER BAY – It’s been 18 months since Mike Desilets’ rink qualified for the Canadian senior men’s curling championship.
They’ve still got 40 days or so to go and are using the early stages of the Tbaytel Major League of Curling season as a tune-up for the national stage, looking to fine-tune their game to peak in time for the Sault Ste. Marie event’s Dec. 6 start.
If Wednesday night was any indication, the team is headed in the right direction.
Team Desilets scored four in the first and two more in the second, cruising to a 7-2 win over Gary Weiss in Week 4 action.
“We were trying to play defence, actually, and they threw a high guard. We got around it and stayed above the t-line. The ice was pretty straight and they kept ticking and rolling out away and we kept getting the right side of the ice and rolling in and we stacked them up and had a shot for four,” Desilets said, describing the opening end.
Desilets, whose team includes former Brier skip Scott Henderson, Dalie Wiersema and Bill Peloza, said the squad is about one-third of the way through their preparation for the seniors and getting better every week.
“Really, we know what our tendencies are and what we need to fix as far as the gaps go and we’re working on those and tuning our game up so we can execute. We’re getting better every game,” he said.
Two sheets over, Kory Carr knows exactly what it’s like to wait.
The veteran skip took the past two years off from Major League of Curling, but decided to return, in part because his brother-in-law, Tyler Stewart, moved back to town and was looking for a team.
He also had to wait for his team to start gelling on Wednesday night.
Taking on Brian Burgess’ team – through the skip himself was in Timmins with son Dallas’ team at the under 21 provincials – Team Carr trailed 3-0 through four ends, but rallied with three in the fifth and took control of the match with a steal of two in the sixth and singles in the seventh and eighth to win 7-3 and improve to 4-0, one of two unbeaten teams left in the standings.
“Truthfully, it took a little time to figure out the ice,” Carr said. “We spent the first half of the game really not putting the rocks in the right spot. Our rock positioning was awful – but it was still close. We just continued to keep at her and got more aggressive and we got a couple of mistakes out of them. That’s pretty much what it amounts to.”
It was a fast start the helped Frank Morissette edge Gary Maunula’s team, subbing this week for Dallas Burgess’ foursome.
Morissette scored two in the first and stole another in the third to lead 3-0, then after giving up one in the fourth, restored their three-point lead with a single in the fifth and put the game away with a steal of two in the six.
“We had a good handle on the ice and everybody had their weight, so we put the broom in the right spot and made a lot of great shots,” he said.
In other action, Trevor Bonot made a double take-out with his final stone to edge Dylan Johnston 5-3. Two sheets over, Al Hackner won a closest-to-the-button extra-end shot to nudge Mike Pozihun 7-6. Ben Mikkelsen scored four with his last rock to outpace Jonathan Vellinga 9-3 and Kurt Maaup evened his record at 2-2, scoring three with a tricky final shot to earn a come-from behind 7-5 win over Britney Malette’s team, skipped this week by Maddy Hollins.