Nova Scotia, skipped by Mark Dacey of Halifax, inched a game closer to collaring top spot at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship by edging Ontario, 8-7, in an extra end Thursday evening in Draw 16 action.
The verdict left the host province, skipped by former two-time provincial junior champion Mark Bice of Sarnia, with a completed 9-2 round robin record, still good enough for first place.
However, Nova Scotia moved to 8-2 with the victory and will face Northern Ontario, skipped by Jordan Chandler of Sudbury, in Friday morning’s final round robin draw at 9:00 am ET. A victory by the ‘bluenosers’ would propel them to 9-2 as well, but Nova Scotia would get the nod for first place and a bye to Saturday afternoon’s final because of its victory over Ontario.
Tied for third with 7-3 marks are British Columbia (Jason Montgomery of Duncan) and Manitoba (Dave Boehmer of Selkirk). All other teams have been eliminated from the playoffs, whereby the first place team advances to the final, while the second and third place teams, after any required tiebreakers, meet in a semi-final.
Manitoba stayed in the playoff hunt by edging New Brunswick (Mary Jane McGuire of Fredericton), 5-4 and plays Saskatchewan (Jason Ackerman of Regina) Friday morning, while British Columbia meets Alberta (Karen Powell of Sexsmith). Both Alberta and Saskatchewan are 5-5
Dacey, who won the 2004 Nokia Brier in Saskatoon and finished third at the Ford Worlds in Gävle, Sweden that year, also won the Canadian Mixed in 2002 in Halifax.
Ten provinces, plus Northern Ontario and Yukon/Northwest Territories, have been contesting the 47th edition of The Mixed. Alberta leads all provinces with nine wins since the Canadian Mixed began in 1964 in Toronto, while defending champion Manitoba and Saskatchewan are next with eight victories each.
Ontario has won the championship twice – in 1986 by skip Dave Van Dine in Kamloops and by skip John Epping at the 2006 edition in Whitehorse.
In addition to the Canadian title, two players from the winning team will also represent Canada at the 2010 World Mixed Doubles Championship, slated for April 16-24, 2010 in Chelyabinsk, Russia.