The good news, if there is any, is that Saskatchewan went toe-to-toe with the top-ranked team at the Brier.
The bad news is they lost 5-4 in the 11th end to Brad Gushue’s Team Canada — and it was a costly loss at that.
It takes Saskatchewan’s chances of making it to the final four at the Brier from plausible to near impossible.
Not the most enviable of positions admits skip Steve Laycock.
“But it’s a realistic position. There is definitely a chance that it could happen. We’ve got winnable games tomorrow,” Laycock said.
Unfortunately, the game was also winnable Thursday night and Saskatchewan wasn’t able to capitalize.
There were a few mistakes at inopportune times and a few excellent plays by Gushue that really made the difference.
Even on paper, Canada and Saskatchewan were closely matched.
Saskatchewan curled at 93% and Canada at 92%.
“It just felt like one of those games where we weren’t going to be given anything and I felt like we really earned the win tonight,” Gushue said.
“It was a good game,” agreed Laycock. “We had opportunities. Even on the last shot in (the 10th end), Brad got by the guard by a millimetre, or else we’re drawing for two and the win … They definitely played well enough to earn it.”
It’s at this point that Saskatchewan’s losses early in the tournament really become apparent. The team went 0-2 to start the round robin but was able to come back to win four straight and qualify for the championship pool. Unfortunately, that early record followed them and their current 5-4 record becomes a real stumbling block when the top teams (Canada, Ontario and Northern Ontario) are 8-1.
Saskatchewan still has a chance, however, albeit a small one.
First, they need to win their next two games against the wild card team and Nova Scotia.
Second, they need Alberta to lose both of their two games to Ontario and Northern Ontario.
That would leave both Saskatchewan and Alberta at 7-4 and force a tiebreaker.
It’s the Laycock team’s only hope, but, he says they still have it.
“We’re still alive, so we’ll come out and do what we can do (Friday) and hope for help.”
Draws begin at 2 p.m.