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Armstrong, Quick earn big win at Mixed Doubles Trials

Saskatchewan’s Mike Armstrong and Ashley Quick find themselves alone in first place in Pool D heading into the final draws of round-robin competition at the inaugural Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials national curling championship.

Armstrong and Quick (5-1) opened the game with three in the first end and took control with four in the sixth in a 10-6 win over Alberta’s Deryk Kuny and Erica Ortt (1-5) on Saturday at the Leduc Recreation Centre in Leduc, Alta.

Saskatchewan’s Ashley Quick urges on teammate Mike Armstrong during their victory on Saturday at the 2013 Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials. (Photo, Alexander A. Patton / CAPTAINmedia)

Behind the leaders, though, nothing is settled in the eight-team pool, with three teams — Alberta’s Chris Schille and Erin Carmody, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Stephen Shepherd and Donna Davis and Quebec’s Robert Desjardins and Isabelle Neron — all tied with 4-2 records. Just the top two teams from the pool are guaranteed playoff spots, while the next four best records out of the four round-robin pools will also secure berths (head-to-head records and last-shot draw distances will be used to break any ties).

In the other Pool D games on Saturday, Shepherd and Davis improved their playoff hopes with a 7-4 win over Desjardins and Neron, putting the victory away with three in the eighth end; Schille and Carmody earned a must-win, toppling Steve Chenier and Courtney Chenier of Northern Ontario (1-5) 8-2; and the Yukon duo of Robert Smallwood and Jody Smallwood (3-3) turned back Saskatchewan’s Bob Ziegler and Barb Cressman (1-5) 9-2.

In other sixth-round games:

Pool A — The Ontario pair of Scott McDonald and Jaclyn Rivington (6-0) locked up a playoff spot with an 8-6 win over Quebec’s Michel Briand and Genevieve Frappier (2-4). McDonald and Frappier scored three in the eighth end for the win. In other games, Saskatchewan’s Dustin Kalthoff and Nancy Martin (5-1) also clinched a playoff berth with a 7-2 win over New Brunswick’s Avery Hughson and Shelby Wilson (2-4); Ernie Daniels and his daughter Sarah Daniels of B.C. (3-3) stayed in playoff contention with a 9-3 win over B.C.’s Norm Richard and Debbie Girard (0-6); and Nova Scotia’s Mark Dacey and Heather Smith-Dacey (3-3) also stayed in the playoff hunt with a 6-2 win over Saskatchewan’s Matt Lang and Jessica Hanson (3-3).

Pool B — Saskatchewan’s Dean Hicke and Chantelle Eberle maintained their perfect pace, improving to 6-0 and guaranteeing a playoff berth with a 6-3 win over Derek Owens and Danielle Sicinski (1-5) of Saskatchewan. Also playoff-bound is the Yukon junior-aged duo of Mitch Young and Chelsea Duncan, who improved to 5-1 with an 8-1 win over Ian Moir and Marta Moir of the Northwest Territories (1-5). In the other Pool B games, Jamie Danbrook and Erin Porter of Newfoundland/Labrador (3-3) stayed in playoff contention with a crucial 7-4 win over the Saskatchewan/Manitoba pair of Josh Heidt and Jenna Loder (4-2); and Saskatchewan’s Cole Tenetuik and Alison Ingram (3-3) stayed alive with a 9-7 victory over Alberta’s Jason Larence and Melanie Puzzie (1-5).

Pool C — There’s a two-way tie for the lead going into the final round-robin draw after wins by Saskatchewan’s Jason Ackerman and Colleen Ackerman and Manitoba’s Sean Grassie and Karen Klein to improve their records to 5-1. That tie will be broken when those teams meet at 4:30 p.m. (all times Mountain). The Ackermans broke open what had been a tight game with Kyle Leach and Cori Dunbar of Alberta (1-5) by scoring five in the fifth end for a 9-5 victory. Grassie and Klein, meanwhile, stole three in the third end and one more in the fourth in a 6-4 victory over Alberta’s Matt Blandford and Darah Provencal (3-3). In the other games, Dale Parker and Janice Parker of Alberta (3-3) downed the young B.C. duo of Tyler Tardi and Dezaray Hawes (4-2) 7-5, and Manitoba’s Kelsey Boettcher and Kelly Loeber (3-3) stole two in an extra end for a 10-8 victory over Lyle Walker and Kristen Walker of Alberta.

The 2013 Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials continue on Saturday with round-robin draws are set for 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and the first round of the playoffs going at 8:30 p.m.

The winning team in the four-day competition will earn the right to represent Canada at the World Mixed Doubles Championship, April 13 to 20 at the Grant-Harvey Centre in Fredericton, N.B.

The competition format consists of 32 teams (each team consists of one male curler and one female curler) divided into four pools of eight, with the top two from each pool after the round robin plus the four teams with the next-best records advancing to a 12-team single elimination playoff.

The gold-medal game is scheduled for Sunday at 4 p.m. MDT.

For more information on the 2013 Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials, including the team list, standings and draw times, go to www.curling.ca/2013mixeddoubles/.

For more information on the 2013 World Mixed Doubles Championship, go to: www.wmdcc2013.curlingevents.com/