Playoffs are set at the 2018 Travelers Curling Club Championship with British Columbia leading the way on the men’s side and with a perfect 6-0 round robin record.
The foursome of skip Vic Shimizu, third Cody Tanaka, second Trevor Bakken and lead Mark Yodogawa stormed through the round robin at the Miramichi Curling Club. They were rewarded with a bye to the semifinal on Friday thanks to their top placing in Pool B of the event.
“It feels great. Every game has been a battle so getting that bye to the semi is huge for us,” Tanaka said on Thursday night after posting a 6-4 win over Saskatchewan.
The team out of the Richmond Curling Club faced previously undefeated Kory Kohuch and his team out of Saskatoon in a battle for first place on Thursday evening.
Saskatchewan capitalized with last rock in the first end to open the scoring with two points. B.C. didn’t make it onto the scoreboard until the third end where they were forced to just a single point. The momentum shifted though in the fourth end.
“We got pretty lucky and (Kohuch) got into a path where no one really knew what the draw was going to be like and lucky for us he was heavy,” Tanaka said of Saskatchewan’s error to give up a steal of two and a 4-2 lead for B.C.
Kohuch, third David Kraichy, second David Schmirler and lead Wes Lang responded with a deuce in the fifth end but were left off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
His squad in Miramichi at the Travelers have only been together for one full season and Tanaka credits their chemistry for propelling them to success.
“We just get along so well that we decided to go for it this year and we tried the season prior but didn’t make it to nationals and lucky enough we made it here,” said Tanaka who throws last rock for the team.
This was Tanaka’s 16th game wearing B.C. colours in just the last two weeks. The 24-year-old skipped his province’s mixed team to a 5-5 record in Winnipeg earlier this month.
“It’s a lot of games but it’s been a lot of fun,” Tanaka said of his busy November.
He knows he’ll have at least one more game in that jacket but his opponents for the semifinals are yet to be determined in Miramichi.
What is known are the other five men’s teams who round out the playoffs at this year’s championship.
Nova Scotia’s Kurt Roach and his team from Sydney nabbed top spot in the men’s Pool A. Their 7-4 win over Manitoba on Thursday evening bumped the previously unbeaten Manitoba squad to second place in that pool.
Quebec needed an extra end to eliminate Alberta for the final men’s playoff spot in Pool A. The team from Trois-Rivieres, QC stole the victory from Alberta and will face Saskatchewan in the quarter-finals Friday at 1:30 p.m. (all times Atlantic). Nova Scotia will await the winner of that matchup for the semifinal on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Manitoba will take on Ontario in the other quarterfinal with the winner of that game to play B.C Friday at 6:30 p.m.
The women’s round robin ended with playoff spots still to be determined through Friday morning tiebreakers (9:30 a.m.). Northwest Territories secured top spot in Pool B with a 5-1 record thanks to their 8-3 win over Northern Ontario in Draw 14
Alberta also finished with a 5-1 record but lost to the team from Yellowknife earlier in the week and will play in the quarter-finals on Friday at 1:30 p.m.
In Women’s Pool B four teams finished with a 4-2 record. Nova Scotia finished in first place and will get a bye to the semifinal by virtue of their head-to-head record with the other three teams: Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ontario will avoid the extra game and will await the winner of a tiebreaker between Saskatchewan and B.C.
Newfoundland and Labrador will compete against Manitoba on Friday morning with the winner of that tiebreaker taking on Alberta on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
No matter their record on the ice, participants at this year’s Travelers Championship can still go home big winners. Teams are helping raise money to support youth curling across Canada through online donations and through a silent auction, all in support of the Curling Canada Foundation. For more information on how to support your favourite team click here: https://www.curling.ca/2018travelers/fundraising/
The public is invited to visit the Miramichi Curling Club to bid on dozens of items in the silent auction. The auction closes Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Selected games from the 2018 Travelers Curling Club Championship will be live-streamed at www.curling.ca/2018travelers.
Scores and standings from the event will be available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard.