PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MAN. — Val Sweeting (Edmonton) and Brad Gushue (St. John’s) served Laura Crocker (Edmonton) and Geoff Walker (St. John’s) their first loss at the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Trials by a score of 7-4.
It was one of four playoff games on the ice at Friday afternoon at Stride Place as teams inch closer to representing Canada in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Gushue and Walker, the reigning Tim Hortons Brier and world men’s champions, played each other in the round robin; Walker and Crocker came back from a six-point deficit to remain undefeated, but that was not the case during the playoff game. This win was crucial as it puts Sweeting and Gushue just one victory away from reaching the Page playoff 1 vs. 2 game.
“We played a great game today. I think that was our best game of the week,” said Gushue. “We had a good feel for the ice and draw weight and we made a lot of great shots. Val made a really, really good shot there in six for three.”
Crocker and Walker opened the game with a single point, but Gushue and Sweeting responded with a deuce in the second. The teams exchanged singles over the next three ends thanks to some great forcing and missed opportunities. In the third Crocker/Walker had an opportunity to draw for two but were off on the draw to settle for one, tying the game 2-2. The next end featured a Crocker/Walker double that forced Sweeting to play a hit for one with her final stone. In the fifth Crocker and Walker once again had an opportunity to pick up a deuce. They attempted a delicate tap for two, but were just shy on the weight. They settled for one and the game was tied 3-3.
Sweeting and Gushue combined for a great shot and sweep in the sixth end that opened up the game. Their score of three put them up 6-3 and forced Crocker and Walker to use their power play. They took advantage of the open end by clearing the house of all Crocker/Walker stones and forcing their opposition to one. They took their two-point lead into the final end and scored one more to win 7-4.
Kaitlyn Lawes/John Morris and Dana Ferguson/Brendan Bottcher teeter-tottered their way through the 5 v 4 game. Ferguson was ecstatic after making a triple takeout to score three and take a 4-1 lead, but Lawes and Morris were not out. They scored two in the fourth end and stole another in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4. While Ferguson and Bottcher scored two in the sixth, Lawes and Morris scored an important three points in the seventh to lead 7-6. They tacked on another point in the eighth to win 8-6.
“We played really a great game. It always seems like a grind every end. Brendan just kept making those high, hard ones to get them out of trouble. We just wanted to keep the pressure on them and it worked,” said Morris.
Jocelyn Peterman/Brett Gallant, the top seed at the Trials, maintained their perfect record with a 6-4 victory against Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson.
In the final game of the draw Jennifer Jones and Mark Nichols defeated Jill Officer and Reid Carruthers 8-6.
The next playoff round is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday (CST). Peterman/Gallant will take on Lawes/Morris and Jones/Nichols plays Sweeting/Gushue. The winner of those games will advance to the Page 1 vs. 2 playoff game. On the B-side of the playoffs, Carey/Hodson will square off against Ferguson/Bottcher, while Officer/Carruthers meets Crocker/Walker.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
CBC Sports TV is providing streaming coverage of the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials, with playoff games being broadcast on CBC Sports TV. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
For ticket information for the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials, CLICK HERE.
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at https://www.curling.ca/?lang=fr