With a score of 11-3, Team Casey defeated what was considered the favourite to win the SaskTel Men’s Tankard, Team Laycock.
Team Casey had managed to score three points for the first, third and fourth ends in the championship game Feb. 5, while Team Laycock managed to score singles. By the end of the eighth end, Laycock conceded.
Adam Casey, the skip of Team Casey, gave some insight to his thought process during the game.
“It’s interesting when you get that big lead because as a skip, I feel like you’re all of a sudden the goalkeeper with the big lead and you want to make sure that your team doesn’t slack off,” he said. “In between each end it was just a matter of, ‘okay, we’re going to go through and execute,’ but in my head, once we got that big lead and the way that last end shaped up, I was pretty sure that we won.”
The skip said he thought the team’s weight control gave them the victory, allowing them to put the rocks in good places and making the misses work for them.
Kirk Muyres, Team Laycock’s third, said the result wasn’t what they wanted.
“We wanted to give a good battle to the end, especially for the fans that have been here all week – we wanted to give a good show, but that team was just bang on,” he said. “They didn’t miss anything by a millimetre. Kudos to them; they played unreal.
“If we could have gotten one or two in the first, second or third end, we’d have been back in it, but that’s the way it goes. They didn’t give us an inch at all throughout the game.”
Team Laycock and Team Casey faced each one another two other times. The first time, the A final, Laycock won 6-5. The second time, in the pre-championship game, Casey won 8-5.
Muyres told the Review before the Tankard a goal was to make sure the team was doing their jobs and processes properly. He felt that was something they did.
“The rocks didn’t flow the way we needed them to in the first end, which really put us behind the eight ball, but we’re doing our processes and our jobs well,” he said. “I think we got to go back to the drawing board a little bit and clean a few things up before the last two events of the year, but with that being said, I think we’re in good shape and our goal now is to get our Olympic trial spot for the end of the year.”
Catlin Schneider, Team Casey’s third, told the Review his team planned to remain calm and take the green jackets. Casey said that’s something the team achieved.
Casey said winning the Tankard gave him an unreal – but good – feeling.
“A lot of people [have asked], ‘does it feel different winning for Saskatchewan’ and I think I have more of an appreciation coming from another province on how much tougher this tankard field is,” he said. “In P.E.I. and Newfoundland, usually our B-game is more than good enough.”
As for winning the Brier?
“I think we need to be realistic: this is a new team,” he said. “I think if we play the way we’ve played this week, we’ll surprise a lot of teams. I think we’ll be knocking at the door for a playoff stop at week’s end. Once you get into playoffs, it’s usually the hottest skip that wins, so hopefully I can be that guy.”
Muyres also had a positive assessment of Team Casey’s chances.
“They’re going to have a good shot if they keep playing like that,” he said.
Casey, in turn, was complementary to Team Laycock, saying it was their work over the past three or four years that has developed strong, competitive teams in Saskatchewan.
Casey was also pleased with how the Tankard was organized.
“It’s phenomenal. The fans are great; I think they warmed up to me after a while,” he said. “I thought I might be an outcast, be public enemy number one for being an imported player, but no – really supportive crowd.”
Muyres agreed with that sentiment.
“The Tankard was unreal; top-notch. I couldn’t believe how packed it was in here all week, starting on Wednesday, and then Friday night it was packed. It was just full. It was awesome.”