Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Here is your week four Team Shuster Update.

The Good the Bad and the Exhausted!

After our successful trip to Brandon, the team was excited and ready to take the ice in St. Paul. We started out very well and won our first 3 games and reached the qualifying game in the A bracket! It looked as if we were poised to qualify in our second event in a row!

Now for the bad. We’re not exactly sure why as of yet, but we ended up losing three straight games. Yikes! We just didn’t play as sharply as we had been. Our front two players just didn’t set things up very well and put undue pressure on our other players to pick things up. For me personally, I have found that hosting an event and playing in it can be an exhausting exercise and I might need to rethink that process.

We were all very disappointed with our finish and have been discussing some cause and effect and how to ensure that we don’t end up in that situation again.

On the very positive side, I think that we have all agreed that this season is a long process for us and it is still very early.

So you’re probably thinking we’ll take some time off now, right? WRONG! We’re heading right back to Manitoba this weekend! This will definitely be our toughest test of the year. The Myers Norris Penny Prairie Classic in Portage La Prairie, MB. This event is by far the deepest field of teams we will see. With a list of players that reads as a who’s who of former World and Olympic champions and players we’ll have our work cut out for us. We’ll need to get back to working together and staying positive to earn our way to the money round here. As usual, you can follow our progress on-line.

Thanks again and wish us luck.

John Benton

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Here is your week three Team Shuster Update.

Things with the team are coming together.

After a good first game in Brandon, MB we ran up against former Canadian and World Champion, Jeff Stoughton. A great test for our squad. We really played well and controlled a good part of the game but failed to take advantage of some opportunities and ended up losing 9 to 3. The score is not a very good indication of how we played. We followed that loss with another well played game against Don Nelson which we ended up losing on last rock! Despite the losses the team seemed to be in pretty good shape and had some time to discuss our plans for Saturday’s matches. It was time to tighten things up a bit.

Our 5th man, Jeff Isaacson (Ike) made the trip with us and we decided to rotate him in on Saturday morning. Our game against Brendan Taylor was not quite as sharp as we had hoped but we were able to battle back from a two point deficit in the final end to force an extra end where we caught a break when Mr. Taylor missed his last shot giving us the victory.

As a team we decided that we needed to take full advantage of that break and put a few good games together. We proceeded to play our two best games of the year so far against Manitoba veteran Dave Bohemer and Scottish transplant Willie Lyburn! Things just started to click and I could tell that a little more time on the ice was the key to the team putting our shaky start in Ottawa behind us!

By winning those two games we qualified to the quarterfinal bracket of the event! This is significant for two reasons. Number one, we accomplished our first team goal of the year by “Qualifying” in one of our first 4 events. Number two, we earned some serious cash by advancing to that level, which takes a little pressure off of our pocket books! J Unfortunately our run ended there as we came out a little flat on Monday and lost our game to Alan Lyburn (Willies older brother). Nevertheless, we are all in good spirits to have seen some moderate success early in the season. You can see our results here.

So what’s next? Many of you already know that this weekend is the St. Paul Cash Spiel, which I happen to host as well as play in! This is another 32 team WCT event with good money up for grabs for the teams that advance to the final 8 in the Championships. Please stop by or check us out online at

I hope to get some photos (in our very popular Gemini uniforms!) this weekend to send along with my next update.

As always, thanks to our sponsors.

Wish us luck.
John Benton

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hello again. Here’s your Team Shuster update.

We had a bit of a rocky (excuse the pun) start in Ottawa. We played well, but had some early season mistakes which led us to a 1 and 3 record. However, we gained some valuable insight on our team dynamics and were able to come out of it with some positive goals for the season.

Upon our return we went to work and set up practice time and started working toward some of those goals.

So tomorrow begins our second event weekend in Brandon, MB where we can put that work to the test! This is a tougher field of teams than we saw in Ottawa so we’ll have to get our A game going right away. If you’re interested in following our progress, you can find Team Shuster in the Manitoba Lotteries Curling Classic on the World Curling Tour Website:

Again, wish us luck and thanks for the support!

John Benton