By The Canadian Press on November 10, 2017.
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont., locked up first place in Pool A with a 6-5 win over Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., on Friday at the Road to the Roar Olympic curling pre-trials.
Tippin drew for the winning point in the 10th end, securing Pool A with a 4-2 record while knocking Fleury (2-4).
“We’re so relieved, it’s nice to have that done,” said Tippin, who won’t see action again until the first round of the playoffs Saturday. “We were going to be in quite a mess of a seven-way tie, so we’re so thrilled. Both teams came out and played incredible games, everyone on the ice. It was just a well-played game.”
The seven-way tie was avoided with the Tippin win, but it still left five 3-3 teams – Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque, Halifax’s Theresa Breen, Calgary’s Nadine Scotland, Winnipeg’s Shannon Birchard and Shannon Kleibrink of Okotoks, Alta. – and just two available playoff spots.
Rocque was awarded second in the pool based on her 3-1 record in head-to-head encounters between the tied teams. The other four will battle for the third and final playoff spot Friday night. The winners will play Saturday for the final playoff berth.
One tiebreaker is required in Pool B after four teams tied with 4-2 records – Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., Briane Meilleur of Winnipeg, Kerri Einarson of East St. Paul, Man., and Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont.
McCarville and Meilleur both had 2-1 records within the pool of tied teams. McCarville beat Meilleur in the round robin to earn first place.
In the early men’s draw, Glenn Howard improved to 5-0 and clinched first place in Pool A with a 7-6 win over Adam Casey.
The four-time Canadian champion from Tiny, Ont., scored two in the 10th end for the comeback win. Casey, the local favourite based in Charlottetown, scored two in the ninth to tale a 6-5 lead but couldn’t hang on. His team feel to 2-3.
John Morris of Chestermere, Alta., part of Canada’s Olympic champion team in 2010, improved his chances of a playoff spot with an 8-4 win over Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson. Morris took over second place in Pool A at 3-2 while Gunnlaugson fell to 2-3.
Jamie Murphy of Halifax kept his playoff chances with a 6-5 extra-end win over Saskatoon’s Colton Flasch. Murphy improved to 3-3 while Flasch fell to 2-3.
Four teams – two men’s teams and two women’s teams – will qualify for the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings next month in Ottawa.
The top three teams from each pool will advance to the playoffs beginning on Saturday, with the first- and second-place teams crossing over to meet each other in the first round of the A-side. The winners will then meet for the first Roar of the Rings berth.
The first-round losers will drop to meet the third-place teams in each pool in the first round of the B-side. The winners of the two games will then meet, with the winner taking on the A-side final loser for the second berth.
The Road to the Roar is the final qualifying event for teams to reach the Dec. 2-10 Olympic Trials – where Canada’s four-player curling teams for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games will be decided.
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