SUMMERSIDE – Two of the most recognizable names in the 14-team men’s field at the 2017 Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-Trials curling event got off to flying starts in Monday’s second draw at Eastlink Arena.
There is a lot on the line as two men’s and two women’s teams from this week’s competition in Summerside will get to compete in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings next month in Ottawa for a chance to represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Glenn Howard rink from the St. George’s Golf and Curling Club in Toronto stole three in the fourth end to go up 6-0 when Mark Bice from the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club came up light on his final draw.
Howard drew for three in the second end after keeping the hammer with a blank in the first. He went on to win the game 9-2, with handshakes after eight.
Blows open close game
Meanwhile, John Morris from the Vernon Curling Club in British Columbia blew open a close game against Jamie Murphy from the Halifax Curling Club in the fifth end as Jim Cotter, who throws skip stones for Morris, made a routine hit for five with the hammer. It opened up a 7-2 lead.
Murphy, the only men’s team from Atlantic Canada, had attempted to freeze to Morris’s shot rock at the back of the eight-foot, but his stone over-curled and slid by into the open.
Murphy, who had given up a steal of two in the first end when his final stone hit and rolled out, fought back to tie the game after four. He just couldn’t recover after the big end, giving up steals in ends six and seven. He hit for one in the eighth and then shook hands, trailing 9-3.
The women’s games were close until the ninth ends. Theresa Breen, the only women’s team from the Maritimes out of the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax, N.S., stole a triple to close out Tracy Fleury from the Idylwylde Golf and Country Club in Sudbury 11-6.
Fleury was up 5-3 at the fifth-end break before the wheels came off. Breen got three with the hammer in the sixth. Scores in that game went back and forth as the teams were tied 6-6 after seven. It was all Breen the rest of the way as she had taken a 6-5 lead with a triple in the sixth.
Over on the far side of the ice, Jacqueline Harrison and her Mississauga Golf and Country Club team never trailed in what was a close game until her tripe in the ninth put the game out of reach. Briane Meilleur and her Fort Rouge Curling Club team from Winnipeg conceded down 10-6.
The teams went into the fifth-end break tied 5-5.
Both the men’s and the women’s fields are split into two pools of seven teams. Round-robin play continues until Friday, and the playoffs begin Saturday.