Sunday, March 16, 2008

Alberta goes 13-0

by Jill Officer

WINNIPEG – There was a buzz in the building as people filed in for this Brier finale between the top two teams in the world.

Too bad the game was a stinker.

There will be lots of news in tomorrow’s media on exactly what plagued the player’s skills – and confidence – down at ice level at the MTS Centre.

Soft ice? The melted ring marks left by a stone in the house – well before the 10th end, by the way – would indicate that.

Stuff from the ceiling? Specifically, the air vents, or so the speculation went.

All we know is this was the second time in two years of Brier finals that Ontario’s Glenn Howard was surprised by the ice. His team never latched on to the conditions at the start the 2006 final and Jean-Michel Ménard, the eventual champ, jumped out to a big lead.

This time around, the problems also confounded Howard’s opponent, Alberta’s Kevin Martin. But Martin made a few more shots than the Ontarians did, and that proved to be the difference.

There were some Alberta fans here that were body-painted from the waist up and cheering loudly. Alberta lead Ben Hebert’s brother Chris and his buddies were stirring things up here at the MTS Centre. Chris was hoping brother Ben won the big game today so he might get away with not buying his brother a birthday present. The Brier Tankard would be a gift enough for Ben, who celebrated his 25th b-day today!

It was also a final for CBC today... the broadcaster’s final Brier telecast.

What do Mike Harris and Joan McCusker think about that? Turns out, not a lot. They both said they still feel like there is still so much to do this season – the Ford World Women’s in Vernon, the Players’ Championship in St. John’s in April, and they still get to do all the Grand Slam events next year.

So... in the end, a great shot was made by Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Hebert, with the latter two sweeping Martin’s rock perfectly to the button for the win.

Tune in tomorrow morning for my final thoughts on Brier 2008.

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