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Alberta & British Columbia Men Close in on Playoffs

Alberta’s Rob Armitage and BC’s Dennis Graber won key evening match-ups Wednesday and move a step closer to the playoffs at the 2012 Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championship in Abbotsford, BC.

Armitage was up against defending champion Kelly Robertson of Neepawa, Manitoba and led the match at the halfway point at 4-1 courtesy of deuces in the first and fifth ends. Robertson replied with two in the 6th and a steal of one in the 7th tying the game at 4 each. In the pivotal 8th end, the Red Deer foursome manufactured two points to regain the lead. After forcing the Manitoba skip to one in the 9th, Armitage did not have to throw his last stone when Robertson drew heavy on a freeze attempt. Armitage sports a 7-1 record while Robertson drops to 3-5 and is in imminent danger of being eliminated from playoff contention.

On sheet A, Graber, with Brian Windsor throwing last stones, won a hard fought extra end battle against Ontario’s Brian Lewis. A steal of one put Graber up by two points with two ends to go. Lewis scored a singleton in the 9th and then stole one in the 10th with well placed stones. The BC team was in trouble in the extra end until Windsor made a nice come around to remove shot stone from the four foot area. Lewis was unable to match the shot and the game was over. Graber is also at 7-1 tied for first place. BC and Alberta meet Thursday afternoon in a game that may well decide first place and the coveted bye to the final. Lewis dropped to 5-3 remaining in contention for a playoff spot.

Geoff Cunningham (NL) photo by Davina

Glenn Goss of Newfoundland & Labrador missed an opportunity to join BC and Alberta in a three way logjam when he lost 8-4 to Northern Ontario’s Robbie Gordon of Sudbury. It was a must win situation for Gordon to keep his playoff hopes alive, now sitting in a tie for fourth place with Ontario’s Lewis. Goss drops to 6-2 alone in third place.

Saskatchewan’s Eugene Hritzuk kept his slim hopes in play with a narrow 6-5 win over Dave McCusker of Nova Scotia. Hritzuk is at 4-4 and will need help. McCusker drops to 2-6.

Quebec’s Pierre Charette joins him at 4-4 despite losing to Mark Armstrong’s New Brunswick foursome. Charette gave up deuces in the first and third ends chasing Armstrong the rest of the game. A solid four in the 9th put it away for NB improving their record to 3-5.

Finally, PEI scored a single in the 10th end to dash Yukon’s George Hilderman’s hopes for his first victory. Wilkinson’s crew move to 2-6 while Yukon is at 0-7.

The round robin continues until Friday, March 23 with semi-finals for both genders then scheduled for Saturday followed by both championship finals, Sunday, March 25 at 2:00pm EST.

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