Final draw crucial for four mens teams

Eric McCarthy
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SUMMERSIDE - With just one draw remaining in the round-robin schedule Friday morning, New Brunswick's Russ Howard (8-2) and Ontario's Bruce Delaney (8-3) are the only men's teams assured of playoff berths at the 2009 Canadian senior men's curling championships.
Two teams, Prince Edward Island's Mel Bernard (6-4) and Newfoundland and Labrador's Bill Jenkins (6-4), are chasing Saskatchewan's Eugene Hritzuk (7-4) for the third and final playoff spot.

Ontarios Bruce Delaney rink has qualified for the mens playoffs at the 2009 Canadian senior curling championships, being held at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club. Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE - With just one draw remaining in the round-robin schedule Friday morning, New Brunswick's Russ Howard (8-2) and Ontario's Bruce Delaney (8-3) are the only men's teams assured of playoff berths at the 2009 Canadian senior men's curling championships.
Two teams, Prince Edward Island's Mel Bernard (6-4) and Newfoundland and Labrador's Bill Jenkins (6-4), are chasing Saskatchewan's Eugene Hritzuk (7-4) for the third and final playoff spot.
That means the bar is set very high for two of the games in the final round-robin draw.
Newfoundland and Labrador needs a win over Nova Scotia's Bryan MacPherson to stay alive, and P.E.I., from the host Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club, needs to get past New Brunswick.
Bernard could have helped his cause immensely with a win in either of his Thursday games.
"We lost a couple of heartbreakers today," he acknowledged after his 7-4 loss to Brian Gessner's B.C. rink Thursday night. He was bounced 6-3 by Nova Scotia in the previous draw.
Bernard is looking forward to this morning's game against his Maritime counterpart."
"Now that we're going to play him, it's great," he grinned.
Of course, Howard is in need of a win, too, as it would give his Fredericton Curling Club rink a bye into Saturday's final. A Howard loss to P.E.I. would give Ontario first because of their 10-4 win over New Brunswick on Thursday morning.

Semifinal
The second-place team will meet the third-place team in the semifinal, with the winner advancing to the final against the first-place team. If one or no tiebreaker is needed, the semifinal goes Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Otherwise, the semifinal will be Saturday at 9 a.m. The final, regardless, goes Saturday at 2 p.m.
Against B.C., Bernard fought back to tie the game 4-4 with single steals in the seventh and eighth ends. He was counting one against two B.C. stones when he attempted a split with his final rock in the ninth but it came up light, leaving Gessner with a near wide-open hit for three, which he made. B.C. peels in the 10th ruled out another comeback.
"Tonight, the ice got heavy and we got caught on it," said Bernard. "I thought we played a better game tonight, especially in the second half. We just got caught on the ice.
In other games Thursday night, Alberta's Dave Olsen opened with a six-ender in the first and closed with a four-ender in the sixth for a 13-2 win over Brad Whitehead of the Northwest Territories/Yukon, and Manitoba's Brent Strachan scored five in the ninth for an 11-5 victory over Nova Scotia.

wbureau@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club, Fredericton Curling Club

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario Prince Edward Island Newfoundland and Labrador SUMMERSIDE Saskatchewan Maritime Alberta Northwest Territories Yukon Manitoba

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