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Mikkelsen downs Hackner with four on final shot

Three rinks remain undefeated after Week 2 in Tbaytel Major League of Curling play.

THUNDER BAY – Ben Mikkelsen says anytime Al Hackner is the opposing skip, you’re in for a deep-thought kind of game.

Mikkelsen had plenty to think about on Wednesday night, outdueling the former world champion in a chess match on ice, a game that came down to the last shot of the night.

The veteran skip made a double takeout with his final stone of the eighth end at the Port Arthur Curling Club, scoring four to earn a 6-2 win, improvong his team’s record to 2-0 through the second week of play in the Tbaytel Major League of Curling season.

“We just wanted to keep it open as much as possible. We got into a little bit of trouble with some rocks hanging around the back of the house. It was fortunate how Al’s last one over-curled on him and left me a nice, confident high-weight shot where I knew the ice was going to go nice and straight for me,” Mikkelsen said. “Still, it felt pretty good coming out.

“We were talking about it (in the) game, if we were going to come down to a last shot, would we want a finesse shot or something hard. We decided early in that end we wanted to make sure it was a hit. It worked out well for us.”

Points were few and far between until the eighth, Mikkelsen, Greg Doran, Carter Morash and Devin Doran picking up singles in the first and fifth, Hackner in the fourth and sixth ends.

It was a well thought out contest on both sides of the hack.

“Clearly you could tell by a few of those ends we were running behind a few of the other teams, but it was just going to be one of those things where you’re not putting the rock in the exact spot you wanted to. We left a couple of points out there. We knew if we just hung in there we were eventually going to get through.

Four sheets to the right, Gary Weiss also picked up his first win of the campaign, downing Trevor Bonot’s rink, skipped this week by Mike McCarville, 7-4.

“We had a really close game last week against the other McCarville, against Krista, so to come back and have a good game against Mike was really important to us. We were able to make some key shots in this game and take the lead – and hold on in the end,” said Weiss, whose team includes Deron Surkan, Aaron Rogalski and Mark Beazley.

Up 4-2 through five ends, Team Weiss put the game away with three in the sixth.

“We made Mike have to try a couple of tricky shots and fortunate for us he didn’t make them and we were able to capitalize with a nice draw,” Weiss said.

Bonot dropped to 1-1 with the loss.

After two weeks, just four teams remain undefeated.

Dylan Johnston scored a pair of triple-enders to down Bryan Burgess 9-4, improving to 2-0.

“It’s a good start,” Johnston said. “There was some tricky ice tonight.”

Krista McCarville’s foursome opened with steals of one in the first four ends and went on to down Britney Malette 7-4, while Kory Carr ran Jonathan Vellinga out of rocks in the eighth to capture a 5-2 triumph, both winning teams now sitting at 2-0.

In other Week 2 action, Mike Desilets survived a tight match to edge Mike Pozihun 6-5, stealing a point in the final end when Pozihun bumped his own stone, leaving Desilets’ in scoring position. Frank Morissette picked up singles in the seventh and eighth to earn a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Ken Maarup.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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