Whew…Sighs of Relief for Quebec and NS

Tension and drama filled the rink this afternoon at the 2013 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship at the TMR Curling Club in the Town of Mount Royal. Both Quebec’s Mike Fournier and Nova Scotia’s Brent MacDougall had their sights set on their 8th victories of the championship and an eye on the bye to Saturday’s final, yet both ended up needing to steal their way to wins. Fournier seemingly had control of his game with Manitoba’s Terry McNamee holding a two point lead with the hammer playing the 8th end. McNamee stunned the Glenmore CC team with a steal of two in that end and forced Quebec to one in the 9th. Heading home one up without last stone, Fournier played the steal the entire end and lay two with his final stone. McNamee, with several of his own stones in play, needed the double take-out for the win but missed it a touch on the wide side leaving Fournier a steal of one and the win 8-6. Fournier is at 8-2 with a pivotal match against Ontario tonight.

photo by Eve Bélisle

MacDougall squared off against BC’s Tom Buchy, who, at 5-4, was desperate to stay in the playoff hunt. Down a single point playing the 7th end, Buchy made a terrific raise take-out to score four points seemingly driving a stake in NS’ chances for that bye to the final. Down 9-6, MacDougall was forced to one in the 8th, stole on in the 9th when Buchy just missed a raise take-out for multiple points, and then stole one in the 10th when Buchy again just missed a hit and roll to win. In the extra end, with time running out for both teams, Buchy elected to play a double tap back on his own stones to the four foot but was a foot too heavy allowing NS to steal three consecutive ends and the 10-9 win. A Nova Scotia win tonight will give them the bye to Saturday’s final; all this from a team that had to survive the pre-qualifying round last Thursday! Saskatchewan’s Jeff Hartung kept his playoff hopes alive with an 8-3 victory over PEI’s Robert Campbell. Hartung moves to 6-4 while Campbell, a two-time Canadian Mixed champion has been eliminated from playoff contention at 5-5. Hartung will need Quebec to beat Ontario and then will need to beat Ontario himself plus hope for New Brunswick to lose one more game. Northern Ontario’s Mike Assad must beat PEI and Manitoba and hope for two Ontario losses plus a New Brunswick loss to sneak into at least a tie-breaker. In a battle of the territories, Inuvik’s Nick Saturnino won his second game of the week as his NWT foursome defeated Yukon’s Steve Fecteau 12-2 in a game over after 8 ends. NWT is 2-8 while Fecteau is winless. Afternoon byes were enjoyed by Ontario’s Cory Heggestad  (7-2), Alberta’s Kurt Balderston (3-6), NB’s James Grattan (6-3) and Northern Ontario’s Mike Assad (0-9). Thursday’s evening games are scheduled for 7:00pm EST with key match-ups between Ontario vs. Quebec and New Brunswick vs. Nova Scotia. Play continues until Saturday at the TMR Curling Club in the Town of Mount Royal, Quebec (part of greater Montréal) with the championship final set for 2:00 pm EST on Saturday, November 24th. Real time results are available at www.curling.ca Live streaming is available at www.canadianmixed.com