Playoff dreams to be sorted out on Thursday

They’re on the ropes, but not out of it yet. In other words, they’re in familiar territory. Wednesday evening, British Columbia’s Dailene Sivertson and her Victoria Curling Club team defeated Ontario (Clancy Grandy of Waterloo), 12-7 to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for at least a tiebreaker at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Calgary.

Team BC at the 2011 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors (Photo by: Kathy Young)

However, at 6-4, they can’t afford to lose another one. It’s been a bit of a strange week for them. They dropped their opener, proceeded to win four in a row, split a pair, then entered tonight off two tough losses – a 9-8 extra end decision to Nova Scotia, after an 8-7 loss to Newfoundland/Labrador. But Thursday will tell the tale, as her opponents are the undefeated leader, Alberta’s Nadine Chyz of Calgary, and Manitoba, skipped by Breanne Meakin of Winnipeg. “We’re getting tricked a bit with the ice and having a hard time trying to finish games off,” said Sivertson, a 20-year-old Accounting student at Camosun College. “Now, if we can get on a streak and stay on top of the ice, we can get right back in it. “We played against these girls a lot last year. I think it’s just a matter of getting on top of the ice, getting eight rocks together and putting a streak together. Sivertson knows all about streaks – and she’s experienced, too. In 2007, she skipped her team to an excellent third place finish in St. Catharines. Last year in Sorel-Tracy, she got on a roll towards the end of the round robin, clinched a berth in the playoffs by winning her last round robin game, proceeded to win two tiebreakers, then the semi-final before losing the final to Ontario’s Rachel Homan. Her victims included Nadine Chyz and Trish Paulsen, two of her potential playoff foes this year should British Columbia make it. “Absolutely, we’re confident,” she continued. “We feel we’re on a roll now. That was a big win for us. Take that momentum into tomorrow (Thursday) and see what we can come out with.” In other games, Alberta, skipped by Nadine Chyz of Calgary, kept its record unblemished at 10-0, squeaking past Quebec, 7-6 and has clinched at least a semi-final berth. Saskatchewan, with Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon at the controls, kept pace in second at 8-2 with a 10-2 thrashing of Nova Scotia. However, Manitoba, skipped by Breanne Meakin of Winnipeg, lost an extra ender to Prince Edward Island, 8-7, to fall to 6-4, now tied for third with British Columbia and New Brunswick (Jennifer Armstrong of Fredericton), which beat Northern Ontario, 11-3. The other result saw Yukon whip Northwest Territories, 11-1. On the men’s side, Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy of Regina also remained perfect at 10-0, hammering Nova Scotia (Kendal Thompson of Halifax), 11-5, to also clinch at least a semi-final berth. But Ontario’s Mat Camm of Ottawa kept his momentum going too, a 10-3 winner over British Columbia to improve to 8-2, a comfortable second. However, there is traffic in behind…major traffic. Four teams are now tied for third at 6-4 heading into the final day of play: Nova Scotia, Newfoundland/Labrador, New Brunswick and Alberta. New Brunswick (Jon Rennie of Fredericton) edged Northern Ontario, 7-6, Alberta (Colin Hodgson of Calgary) beat Quebec, 8-3 and Newfoundland/Labrador (Colin Thomas of St. John’s) had a bye. But Yukon (Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse) was tripped up by rival Northwest Territories, 7-4 and thus missed its chance to join the fray. The other game saw Prince Edward Island beat Manitoba, 8-5. The round robin concludes with two draws on Thursday, at 1:00 pm and 5:30 pm at the North Hill, and 2:00 pm and 6:30 pm at The Glencoe. The first place teams then advance to their respective finals, while the second and third place teams meet in semi-finals. The women’s semi-final is Saturday morning at 10:30 am, with the final at 5:30 pm MT, live on TSN. The men’s semi-final is Sunday morning at 10:30 am, with the final also at 5:30 pm MT/7:30 pm ET, also live on TSN. The winners then represent Canada at the World Juniors, March 5-13 in Perth, Scotland.