Nova Scotia has played several strong ends at the Tim Hortons Brier, they just haven’t been in the same game.
As Ian Fitzner-LeBlanc’s Mayflower rink now prepares to play three of the toughest teams in men’s curling, they’ll have to fix the inconsistency that’s left them with an 0-3 record at the Metro Centre.
In Saturday’s opener they dug a deep hole against New Brunswick, only to fight back late to make the 8-6 score respectable. Late that night, once all the fans had left and the evening draws had cleared away, Fitzner-LeBlanc went out on the ice alone.
“I wasn’t pleased with how I personally played,” he said. “I wanted to practice.”
Initially the study session seemed to pay off yesterday against Quebec. After five ends, they were in charge 5-2 but the momentum quickly shifted. Quebec scored deuces in the sixth, eighth and 10th ends to steal away an 8-7 victory.
Fitzner-LeBlanc, third Stuart MacLean, second Kent Smith and lead Phil Crowell were not able to recover for their evening game and fell 9-5 to British Columbia.
“We just came out flat,” said the skip. “You try to mentally prepare yourself to say it’s a whole new game. But I think reality set in a little bit. We were frustrated and a little disappointed so it took us a while to bounce back.”
Despite being only 25 years old and skipping the hometown team at his first Brier, Fitzner-LeBlanc said he doesn’t feel nervous. But he said his team is having trouble adjusting to the arena ice after playing exclusively at clubs.
Things don’t get any easier for them today as they face Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador (2-1) and then Glenn Howard of Ontario (3-0). Tomorrow morning they square off against Alberta’s Kevin Koe, also undefeated at 3-0.
“We’re not giving up,” Fitzner-LeBlanc said. “We have a lot of pride so we’re going to fight as hard as we can and see if we can surprise people.”
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