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Championship round set to begin at Canadian Mixed

The final preliminary round robin pool at the 52nd edition of the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship at the North Bay Granite in North Bay, Ont., ended in dramatic fashion.

Colin Koivula (NO) (Brian Doherty Photography)

Colin Koivula (NO) (Brian Doherty Photography)

The final game on the ice featured local favourite Colin Koivula representing Northern Ontario versus PEI’s Jamie Newson. It was sudden death for both teams. Win and move on to the Championship Round; lose and be dispatched to the Seeding Round.

Newson stole a single point in the fifth end to edge ahead 3-2. The Thunder Bay skip responded with a well-played deuce in the sixth end only to give it back in the seventh. Trailing by one in the final end, the Northern Ontario foursome poured the pressure on forcing Newson into difficult shots. A key miss by the PEI skip on his first stone left him a difficult last stone hit and roll to the button to try and steal. He missed, surrendering four points and an 8-5 win for Koivula. Koivula grabbed the final spot in the Championship Round.

Nova Scotia’s Brent MacDougall needed to win over Nunavut’s Wade Kingdon to advance, and the Nova Scotia foursome had their hands full for five ends leading by just two points. A key deuce in the sixth end and steal in seven jumped them to the Championship Round.

Alberta’s Glen Hansen was hopeful of making it to the next round but needed a win over New Brunswick’s Scott Jones and a loss by BC’s Wes Craig. Despite scoring three points in the first end, the game was tied at four coming home. Jones tried to make a straight tap to the four foot but moved it on a bit of an angle enough so that Hansen could simply pick it out for win 5-4. But seconds later, however, Jamie Koe’s NWT foursome’s draw to the four foot for the win against BC slid a foot too far and BC stole the victory despite being down 7-4 after 5 ends. The win ended Alberta’s hopes and propelled BC to the next round.

The final game tonight featured Ontario and Saskatchewan. While both teams were assured of a place in the Championship Round, the win was key for their totals in the next round. With the score tied at 2-2 playing the fifth, the Ottawa CC’s Chris Gardner had a near impossible raise take-out to clip a Saskatchewan stone off the button. He made it almost to perfection but had to settle for just two points. Another two points in the seventh had him leading Kirkpatrick 6-3 coming home. The Saskatchewan skip made a nice hit for at least two and there was a measure for a possible three but the body language on the ice suggested it wouldn’t be close enough to force the extra end. It wasn’t, and the final score was 6-5.

(Brian Doherty Photography)

(Brian Doherty Photography)

Fourteen teams (10 provinces plus Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon), competed in the main draw. They were separated into two pools of seven teams (based on their Mixed win-loss records the past three years) and played a round robin within their respective pools.

Now that the round robin has concluded, the top four teams in each pool advance to the championship round, with the teams playing the teams from the opposite pool, carrying forward their win-loss records for only those games involving the advancing teams.

Meanwhile, the bottom three teams in each pool will go to the Seeding Pool, where they will compete against the three teams from the opposite pool. The teams carry forward their full win-loss record from all the games played. This will determine seedings for the 2016 Canadian Mixed in Toronto.

Here is the seeding for the next rounds of play

Pool A Final
1. Northwest Territories (4-2)*
2. Quebec (4-2)*
3, Manitoba (4-2)*
4. British Columbia (3-3)**
5. Alberta (3-3)**
6. Yukon (2-4)
7. New Brunswick (1-5)

* NT, QC and MB tied for first but NT was 2-0 against the other two teams and QC defeated MB
** BC and AB were both 3-3 but BC defeated Alberta

Pool B Final
1. Ontario (6-0)
2. Saskatchewan (4-2)
3. Nova Scotia (4-2)
4. Northern Ontario (3-3)
5. Prince Edward Island (3-3)
6. Newfoundland & Labrador (1-5)
7. Nunavut (0-6)

* SK and NS tied at 4-2 but SK defeated NS
** NO and PE tied at 3-3 but NO defeated PE

Therefore advancing to the Championship Pool are the following teams:

Ontario (3-0)
Saskatchewan (2-1)
Northwest Territories (2-1)
British Columbia (2-1)
Nova Scotia (1-2)
Manitoba (1-2)
Quebec (1-2)
Northern Ontario (0-3)

The numbers in brackets represent the teams’ record against the other three teams in their pool. Games for the next two days will be against the other four teams from the opposite pool.

Advancing to the Seeding Pool are the following teams:

Prince Edward Island (3-3)
Alberta (3-3)
Yukon (2-4)
New Brunswick (1-5)
Newfoundland & Labrador (1-5)
Nunavut (0-6)

The numbers in brackets represent all of the games played as opposed to the Championship Round. This is to reflect any wins against teams in the Championship Pool.

At the conclusion of the championship round on Friday, two semifinals will take place on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET, pitting 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. The two winners then advance to the final Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. while the two losing teams meet in the bronze-medal game at the same time.

In addition, all games throughout the competition are now eight (not 10) ends. Also, no tiebreaker games will be played at the conclusion of either round. Instead, any ties for position will be determined by accumulated pre-game Last-Shot-Draw results.

The winning team will represent Canada at the 2015 World Mixed Curling Championship, Sept. 12-19 at a site to be announced by the World Curling Federation.

For media requests during the event, contact Danny Lamoureux on site at (613) 878-3682 or dlamoureux@curling.ca.

For event, team and draw information, visit www.curling.ca/2015mixed-en. Click here for a downloadable copy of the rosters.

Draw scores/results will be immediately available on the Canadian Curling Association’s website, www.curling.ca.

Up-to-date standings can be found here: 2015 Mixed Curling Standings

Photos from the 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship can be found here (Brian Doherty Photography).