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Northern Ontario fights its way into a tiebreaker with Manitoba

It wasn’t a great start for Northern Ontario’s Dale Dubinsky at the Dominion Curling Club Championship in Richmond. B.C., but it’s shaping up to be a great finish.

Northern Ontario at The Dominion Curling Club Championship (Photo: Yadranka Thompson and The Dominion)

Dubinsky, who stumbled out of the starting blocks in the men’s section by losing his first two games of the competition, got his game together just in time to rattle off four straight wins and now finds himself in a playoff tiebreaker situation in the chase for the men’s club championship of Canada.

And if he can keep a hot hand, who knows what story he can fashion by the end of the week.

Dubinsky, from Kakabeka Falls, a tourist community in the Lake of the Woods region of eastern Ontario, stole a single in the ninth end to upset Dwight Hodder of British Columbia Friday afternoon to move into a second-place tie in the Grey Pool with Manitoba’s Barry Mandryk of Winnipeg. Mandryk lost his final round-robin game, 6-1, to Alberta’s Wade Thurber, to fall into a deadlock with Dubinsky, both with 4-2 records.

Hodder had a chance for the win in the ninth, but his attempt at a double-takeout over-curled by a fraction of an inch, removing just one rock and giving Dubinsky the win.

Alberta finished on top of the Grey Pool with a sparking 5-1 record.

The top two teams in each pool advance to the playoffs Saturday. The teams cross over in the semifinals, with the first place team in one pool meeting the second-place team in the other pool.

The second-place deadlock in the Grey Pool means Manitoba and Northern Ontario will have to play a special tiebreaker game Friday evening, with the winner advancing to the semifinals.

Dubinsky was one of the great comeback stories at this week’s competition. Paul Harvey’s crew from Newfoundland & Labrador was the other. The boys from The Rock looked down and out in their final Blue Pool game against Donald Clarey of Prince Edward Island, trailing 6-4 coming home. But Clarey’s final delivery of the end ‘picked’ and Harvey scored three points to emerge with a 7-6 win to secure second place in the pool.

First place was wrapped up by Ontario’s Greg Balsdon of Richmond Hill who disposed of Saskatchewan’s Brad Bibby 7-4 to finish atop the heap with an unblemished 6-0 record.

The loss knocked Biddy out of the playoffs hunt with his second loss.

“It worked out quite well for us,” said Harvey. “It didn’t look good for us earlier in the game. Sometimes you wonder. But my team reminded me that this how we won many of our games in the provincials to get here, so just hang in there.”

In a game that didn’t mean anything in the standings, but a lot for pride, Quebec’s John Monroe defeated Nova Scotia’s Andrew Atherton 5-4 in the Blue Pool for his first win of the competition

In another game, New Brunswick’s Barry Lewis defeated Mel Sittichinli of the Territories 6-4 in the Grey Pool.

The championship game goes at 2 p.m. local time Saturday.

The Dominion Curling Club Championship is Canada’s first national championship for men’s and women’s curling teams at the club level. The event is fully funded and operated by The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company. The Dominion is a proud supporter of curling across Canada and has been a strong supporter of the Canadian Paraplegic Association for more than 13 years. Canadian owned and operated since 1887, today The Dominion is one of the country’s largest home, car and business insurers. Get to know The Dominion by visiting thedominion.ca.