Stoughton defeats Grassie to win Safeway title


By: Lanny Stewart

Jeff Stoughton is this year's provincial men's curling champion.

Stoughton and his Charleswood rink defeated Sean Grassie of Deer Lodge 7-4 in 10 ends in the Safeway Championship final at the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa on Sunday afternoon.

The turning point in the game came in the ninth end. With the score 5-4 for Stoughton, there was a chance for a potential steal of two for Grassie. However Stoughton made a thin double takeout with his last rock which led to him taking the deuce and leaving Grassie three points behind with only one end left to play.

"We had to hit about a quarter (of the rock) which is about what we could see," explained Stoughton. "I threw it good enough to make it . . . otherwise they might have stolen one or we might have had to have gotten one if I had to play another shot -- so yeah . . . it worked out great and that's the game."

Meanwhile, for Grassie the loss was a tough pill to swallow. His team was riding a six-game winning streak heading into the final but fell behind early in the contest after giving up a steal of two in the first end and another steal of one in the second to Stoughton.

"It's really tough losing a provincial final," he said. "It was sort of a tough start, falling behind 3-0 to these guys, it's pretty tough to battle back. The guys hung in there.

"We had some chances for twos but Jeff (Stoughton) made a couple of great doubles, especially that one in nine to get his deuce," Grassie continued. "If we were able to force him to one and be only two down coming home, we still would've had a chance. Overall, I'm happy with the way we battled."

The win was a milestone of sorts for Stoughton as the Winnipeg product took home his 10th provincial men's curling title. Stoughton last won the Safeway Championship in 2011.

"I guess when I retire or stop playing as competitively as I do, then I think it's going to be very significant but it's just a thrill to get back to the Brier (national men's curling championship)," concluded Stoughton.

Stoughton will represent Manitoba at the Brier, which takes place in Edmonton, March 2-10. will have more on the Safeway championship in the coming days


In photo: Jeff Stoughton and his team with the Safeway Championship trophy moments after winning the provincial men's curling title.

Photo by Lanny Stewart