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Extra-end win puts O’Leary on top at World Seniors

Canada’s Alan O’Leary and his Halifax team will finish at the top of their pool after squeaking out a 6-5 extra-end win over Scotland’s Gordon Muirhead on Wednesday morning at the World Senior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia.

Alan O'Leary (WCF/Céline Stucki Photo)

Alan O’Leary (WCF/Céline Stucki Photo)

The turning point for Team Canada – O’Leary, third Andrew Dauphinee, second Danny Christianson, lead Harold McCarthy and coach Bill Tschirhart – came in the seventh end when, trailing by two, they scored a big three points after Muirhead just missed on a take-out.

Muirhead tied it up in eight to force the extra end, but O’Leary was able to score his single for the 6-5 win.

“Scotland played well and we got a little bit lucky in the seventh end when he hit one a little too thin,” said O’Leary. “We’ll take the breaks.”

With the win, Canada remains undefeated (6-0) and will claim sole possession of first place in Group A, with Scotland (4-2) right behind.

“My boys are comfortable peeling on this ice which is really nice for the skip,” said O’Leary after the game. “It makes you confident calling the shots. I think (we’re) guaranteed top place in our section but we’ll just keep rolling.”

In other action on Wednesday morning, Team Canada’s Lois Fowler and her team from Brandon, Man., saw their three-game winning streak end with a 6-5 loss to the USA’s Norma O’Leary.

Fowler, third Maureen Bonar, second Cathy Gauthier, lead Allyson Stewart, with coaches Brian Fowler and Bill Tschirhart led 5-3 after six ends, but the Americans tied it up with a deuce in seven and then stole the winning point in the final end.

The loss moves the Canadian women into second place in Group B with a 3-1 record, behind the USA (4-0).

On Thursday, the final day of round-robin play, Fowler will play Slovakia’s Elena Jancarikova, who is still looking for her first win, while O’Leary faces Italy’s Danilo Capriolo (2-3).

The round-robin draws for the World Seniors will run through to April 23 before the playoffs get underway. There are 24 senior men’s teams, split into three eight-team pools (one nine-team pool, two eight-team pools) and 13 senior women’s teams, split into two pools (one seven-team pool, one six-team pool).

On April 24, the senior men’s and women’s gold-medal and bronze-medal games are scheduled for 6 a.m. Eastern.

For live scores and standings from the World Seniors Championship, go to: wscc2015.curlingevents.com/.