THUNDER BAY – Coming off winning the Canadian Masters Curling Championship, there was always the danger that Al Hackner’s squad might be in for a letdown.
Given that the former two-time world champion is getting set to vie for the Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championship in Yarmouth, N.S. next month, it really shouldn’t have been more than a passing thought.
Hackner’s foursome didn’t skip a beat on Wednesday night, scoring early and often against the up-and-coming Dallas Burgess squad, putting away an 8-3 win with three in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead at the time.
Steals of one in the sixth and seventh put it out of reach for good and earned Hackner a share of top spot in the Tbaytel Major League of Curling standings with Brian Adams Jr., both teams with identical 6-0-1-0 record.
Hackner and Adams leapfrogged Trevor Bonot’s team, who were missing in action in Week 7, headed to Quebec for a bonspiel in La Belle Province.
“Coming off a big win like that, I think what helps is the fact that we’re quite a bit older, so we just go out and play the next game like clockwork,” Hackner said.
“The good part is we’re throwing good, so we just have to go out there and keep throwing good and maintain that.”
Hackner went 9-1 at the Canadian Masters, beating Saskatchewan in the final.
“It was a continuation of the good play we had in Winnipeg. Frank (Morrisette) and I both threw it pretty good (tonight), so obviously that was part of it. You’re never going to get anywhere near up for that game as we did the other ones, but as long as we’re maintaining the good throws, we should get some success.”
At the other end of the standings, Ron Rosengren was looking to keep his playoff hopes alive and moved into a tie for the seventh and final playoff spot with Krista McCarville, who lost 6-1 to Dylan Johnston, the two-time defending Major League of Curling champion.
Rosengren put up a five-spot in the fourth end against Jodi Judd and cruised to a 9-2 win, improving to 3-0-4-0.
“I made a nice shot for the four. We played on the weekend in the Grey Cup spiel and we’ve been practicing and stuff, we we’re feeling a little better about our game right now,” said Rosengren, whose team includes Gary Maunula, Dale Wiersema and Dave Sholtz.
“We lost our lead right at the start of the year, so we’ve had a spare ever since and that threw us off a little bit. But it’s starting to feel better now. We just want to make the playoffs. That’s the main thing and then you never know.
Johnston’s in a similar boat with just two wins in six outings heading into Week 7. They took an early lead against McCarville, then stole a pair in the second and another two in the third, the two teams shaking hands after the fourth.
“We got our two and put some pressure on them,” Johnston said. “It was tricky ice, very slow to start with and we took advantage of that.”
In other action, Adams continued his strong play with a 6-4 win over Denis Malettte, Gary Weiss knocked off Paul Carr’s foursome, subbing for Ben Mikkelson this week, Bryan Burgess scored four in the eighth to double up Bonot’s replacement team 8-4 and Kory Carr sent his overtime shot to the button to edge Nicole Westlund-Stewart 7-6.
Hackner and Adams Jr. have 18 points, with Weiss in third at 17 points and Bonot slipped to fourth with 16.