KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- A stolen deuce in the ninth end was the back-breaker for Saskatchewan Tuesday night at the Canadian mens curling championship, as Alberta claimed a share of the lead going into the home stretch. But Saskatchewan (4-2) skip Steve Laycock says they had no one to blame but themselves at the Tim Hortons Brier. "Odds were still stacked against us even tied up coming home," he said after losing 8-6. "The real problem was we had lots of chances in that ninth end to set up a two and just heavy on a few hit and rolls and taps and stuff." Until then it had been a horse race, although Laycock was clearly the underdog. "We expected a close game all the way," said Koe, who advanced to 6-1 along with John Morris of B.C. "I was a little surprised with that steal of two in nine." Perhaps he shouldnt be, since hes at the top of the list when it comes to shotmaking by skips at this event, although Brier rookie Greg Balsdon of Ontario sits just below him with the same overall percentage of 86. Balsdons numbers got a big boost Tuesday night Eddie Mackenzie from Prince Edward Island (3-4) didnt bother to throw his last rock in the eighth end as he dropped 8-3 to Ontario (4-2). Balsdon is still very much in the hunt but knows he has his toughest games ahead. "Weve got a tough stretch coming up," he said. "Weve got Johnny Mo (Morris), Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba our next four games. If we could even split those games and end up 6-4 going into the last draw I think wed take it." Jean-Michel Menard of Quebec (3-3) was down early, came back and forced an extra end, but still lost 10-8 to James Grattan of New Brunswick (2-5). Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories-Yukon (2-4) defeated winless Jamie Murphy of Nova Scotia 7-4. Laycock says theyd be satisfied just to know theyre in the playoffs, but theyre not giving up hope of finishing in the top group. "We know we can beat these teams when it comes crunch time, weve just got to play better than we did tonight." Koe says it would be nice to stay on top of the leader board instead of having to work his way into the final through the 3-4 game. "Im not too worried about who were tied with at the top as long as you keep going and start looking at who plays who and probably where youre at Thursday." Manitobas Jeff Stoughton was another favourite heading into the Brier and he recovered from a 9-7 loss in the morning Tuesday to steal one in the 10th and beat Nova Scotia 8-6 in the afternoon. But a clutch shot through a narrow port even had his own team covering their eyes. Nova Scotia skip Murphy was light on his last-rock draw attempt to force an extra end. The Manitoba skip agrees he and third John Mead havent been as sharp as they need to be. "Both John and I need to make better shots," Stoughton agreed. "Weve just got to clean up the little mistakes." He says their draw weight is good but their hits and peels are a little off. "Were really close and were working hard." Newfoundland and Labradors Brad Gushue retained at least faint hope of making the playoffs with an 8-5 win over Grattan. But after dropping a morning game 7-6 to Saskatchewan, the 2006 Olympic champion said there is no room left for more losses if they want to stay alive. "Yeah, that fourth loss this morning was a punch in your gut," said Gushue. "You know your backs against the wall and you cant afford to lose any more. And its not only winning for more in the round robin, its probably winning a tiebreaker, the 3-4 game, semifinal and final against some world-class teams." The odds are long and it may not be entirely up to him, he admits. "Ive seen 7-4 get in the playoffs, Ive seen 6-5 get in the playoffs. But most of the time it probably doesnt. 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Cheap Air Max 200 . - After three days of light, make that very light, workouts, Team Irvin and Team Carter are ready for tonights Pro Bowl.LONDON - Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed commanding victories in the English Premier League on Friday while Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool also won on a successful day for the top teams.John Terry and Diego Costa scored for Chelsea, which beat West Ham 2-0 to retain its three-point lead over City. City scored all of its goals in the first half in a 3-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion played in a snowstorm.For United, Wayne Rooney scored twice in a 3-1 win over Newcastle that tightened the 20-time champions grip on third place — seven points behind City.I was very pleased because we dominated for 90 minutes, United manager Louis van Gaal said. We make progress in every game.Southampton makes up the top four, climbing above West Ham thanks to a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace, but there are a slew of teams vying for that fourth and finnal Champions League spot.ddddddddddddArsenal is only two points behind in sixth after beating Queens Park Rangers 2-1, with Alexis Sanchez making up for his saved penalty kick and teammate Olivier Girouds red card for a head-butt with a goal and an assist at Emirates Stadium.Liverpool built on recent encouraging performances by eking out a 1-0 win at Burnley through Raheem Sterlings second-half goal.Tottenham and Swansea were other teams in the top half to register wins in the first of three rounds of league fixtures over seven days across the holiday period. 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