Not so dusty!

Shaun Meachem of Swift Current, Sask., defeated Jacques Gauthier during the opening draw of the Canadian Pre-Trials Direct-Entry event at the RA Centre in Ottawa. (Photo, Curling Canada/Claudette Bockstael)

Meachem impresses in extra-end win at Canadian Curling Pre-Trials Direct-Entry event

Shaun Meachem and his team shook off the proverbial dust during their first curling game in just under one year. On Wednesday afternoon, Mecham came out with the all-important win at the Canadian Curling Pre-Trials Direct-Entry event.

From Swift Current, Sask., Meachem’s team toppled Winnipeg’s Jacques Gauthier 9-7 in an extra end during the A-side quarterfinals at Ottawa’s RA Centre.

Meachem, vice-skip Brady Scharback, second Tyler Hartung (subbing in for regular second Brayden Stewart), lead Jared Latos and coach Jeff Chambers held off the 2020 world junior champion with an open hit for two in the extra end to get the win.

The open end was largely courtesy to a laser thrown by Hartung, who cleared the free-guard zone with a double peel. Having an open house all but secured the win for Meachem.

“We’ve got a great pick-up in Tyler, he’s just such a good player,” Meacham said. “That [shot] was right in his wheelhouse, and he waited all game for that one.”

Meachem started the game with momentum against the young team from Manitoba. The team swung into the lead and had control by the third end after scoring a single in the first and a blank in the second end. In the third, Meachem took advantage of a missed runback from Gauthier, allowing the team to put another rock into the house and force Gauthier into a complex triple. The shot was too challenging, and Meachem stole two points for a three-point lead.

“It was a blast. It was really good to get back on the ice again and I think we played like that. We were kind of wild and giving ‘er out there,” Meachem said.

The teams exchanged single points over the following two ends, and Gauthier’s team found its footing in the middle ends of the game. A great shot thrown by Gauthier’s third Jordan Peters with superb line call and sweeping led to a nicely executed hit and roll behind cover. That shot guided Gauthier’s team to a score of two and only trailed by a point.

Meachem, who was skip of Saskatchewan at the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier, had an opportunity to take a stranglehold on the lead once again with an opportunity to score two points on a draw in the seventh. However, the weight was deceiving and thrown heavily; Meachem only scored one. 

“Overall, we curled so well. I missed two big draws that kept the game close. They played quite a bit better in the second half, but I think everyone is feeling their draw weight and knows what it is. So I think from there it’s kind of important to just get reps in and be consistent with it every time,” Meachem said.

Saskatoon’s Ashley Howard doubled Kaitlyn Jones of Assiniboine, Man., 8-4 in the women’s event. (Photo, Curling Canada/Claudette Bockstael)

There were a few momentum swings during the eighth end. First, it was shaping up with Gauthier having two rocks counting. But Meachem nixed that by throwing a wonderful angled double-takeout to sit two. Later in the end, Meachem couldn’t follow a solid draw to the back four-foot by Gauthier and it provided Gauthier with the chance to draw for two and tie the game 5-5.

Meachem redeemed himself by making a cold draw for two in the ninth end for a 7-5 lead heading into the 10th end, which Gauthier countered with a score of two to force the extra end.

In other Canadian Curling Pre-Trials Direct-Entry games, Team Corey Chambers (Winnipeg) defeated Team Willie Lyburn (Winnipeg) 7-5, Team JT Ryan (Winnipeg) bested Team Sean Grassie 4-3, and Team Vincent Roberge of Etchemin, Que., were victorious against Ryan Wiebe of Winnipeg by score of 9-6. On the women’s side of the Canadian Pre-Trials Direct-Entry event, Ashley Howard of Saskatoon doubled Kaitlyn Jones of Assiniboine, Man., 8-4.

The Canadian Trials and Pre-Trials Direct Entry events continue Wednesday with draws at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. (all times ET).

Live scoring and standings for the events are available here.

Live streaming for all draws is available on Curling Canada’s YouTube page.

This story will be published in French as soon as possible here.

Curling Canada