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Stoughton, Howard on opposite ends of playoff spectrum

Things went from bad to worse for Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton yesterday.

Things went from bad to worse for Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton yesterday.

Chasing his third Brier title and first in more than a decade, the 46-year-old former world champion started the day in a strong position for a playoff spot with a 5-2 record at the Tim Hortons Brier at the Metro Centre.

He ended it with setbacks against two of the top teams in the world and with a grim outlook for a playoff spot.

Stoughton lost 8-4 to first-place Glenn Howard of Ontario (9-0) last night and 5-3 to second-place Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador (7-2) in the afternoon and is now tied for fifth at 5-4 with Quebec’s Serge Reid.

The top four teams make the playoffs.

“When you’re not making many shots, you’re going to get your asses kicked like we did there,” said a frustrated Stoughton after the Howard loss. “That’s just the way it goes. We’re not putting eight shots in a row together at all.”

While everything was going wrong for Stoughton, everything continued to go right for Howard, who scored four in the first end and never looked back.

He’s already clinched a spot in the 1-2 Page Playoff game, giving him two cracks at getting to the final.

“My guys are making a ton of shots right now,” said Howard, who last won the Brier in 2007. “I can feel the confidence coming all the time.”

Gushue also fell victim to Howard in the morning, losing 9-5. He was relieved to get the win over Stoughton in the afternoon.

“It was my worst performance of the week (against Howard) and I took a lot of blame for that,” Gushue said.

“But (I’m) really happy with the way I rebounded.”

 
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