First, we’ll start with an observation Woodstock, Ont. skip Julie Tippin made earlier this week at the Home Hardware Road to the Roar:
“Everyone predicted it was going to be really tight right from the beginning. The field is so even; there are so many good teams in it, any game can go any way. It makes for a great, exciting event.”
And we’ll follow up with a Glenn Howard response to a remark during an interview: “You think?”
Now, Howard’s response had nothing to do with the round-robin standings, but, taken together, it just seems to fit.
While it is abundantly clear that standings are tight through all four pools of seven teams that are in Summerside this week trying to make it through the Road to the Roar Olympic Curling pre-trials and advance to the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings next month in Ottawa, nowhere were the standing closer than in the Women’s Pool A.
Heading into the 4 p.m. draw Friday, five teams had already finished play at 3-3 (won-lost). That left Tippin, 3-2 to play Tracy Fleury 2-3 from Sudbury. A win by Tippin would move her into first place with a 4-2 record. A win by Fleury would result in all seven teams in tie-breaker position with identical 3-3 records. Good for Fleury and good for drama but a statistician’s nightmare.
So, how did it all pan out?
Glad you asked.
Tippin scored one with hammer in the tenth to edge Fleury 6-5. Tippin has a lock on first place in the pool. Five teams are tied for second and Fleury, who arrived in Summerside as the top-seeded women’s team, is out of the playoff picture.
Pool B, well, standings are pretty tight there, too, as four teams finished tied for first with 4-2 records.
Krista McCarville, Thunder Bay, Ont., scored two with hammer in the tenth to win 7-4 over Kerri Einarson, East St. Paul Man., and move into the first-place jam. Einarson already had four wins so she’s there, too, along with Sherry Middaugh, Coldwater Ont. who finished round-robin play with a 9-6 win over Jacqueline Harrison, (2-4, Mississauga Ont.) and Briane Meilleur, Winnipeg who got a single with hammer in the tenth for a 7-5 win over Karla Thompson, (1-5, Kamloops).
The other 3-3 seatmates in Pool A are Kelsey Rocque, Edmonton, Nadine Scotland, Calgary, Shannon Kleibrink, Okotoks Alta, Shannon Birchard, Winnipeg and Halifax’s Theresa Breen.
To help get the playoff schedule, the tiebreaker schedule starts tonight at 11:30. Rocque has been awarded second place based on her record against teams with whom she was tied (3-1) which leaves Birchard, ranked first among teams in the tie-breaker, playing fourth ranked Kleibrink and second ranked Scotland playing Breen. The winners of those games will play-off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with the winner getting the “A” pool’s third and final playoff spot.
For Pool B, McCarville and Meilleur both had 2-1 records against teams with whom they were tied and McCarville was awarded first because she defeated Meilleur. Similarly, Einarson and Middaugh had 1-2 records against tied teams and Einarson took third because of her win over Middaugh. Einarson and Middaugh play off Saturday at 7:30 a.m. to determine third place in Pool B.
The men’s teams get to sort out their logjam, or not, in the final round-robin draw tonight at 8 p.m.
Of the 10 men’s teams on the ice tonight, only Howard, Etobikoe, Ont., knows where he’s going to finish. At 5-0, he has first place locked up in Pool A. He plays Vernon B.C.’s John Morris who will be looking to break free from what could otherwise be a three-way tie for second with Halifax’s Jamie Murphy (3-3 and the winner of a game between Adam Casey’s Regina rink and Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson. Both teams go into the game with 2-3 records and only the winner can advance to a tie-breaker.
Colton Flasch from Saskatoon missed out on being part of that tie-breaker picture in losing to Sarnia’s Mark Bice, 6-5 in the only men’s game on the 4 p.m. draw. Bice and Flasch finish at 2-4.
A whole lot of possibilities are present for men’s B Pool where Edmonton’s Charley Thomas currently leads with a 4-1 record. He plays fellow Edmontonian Brendan Bottcher who is right behind at 3-2. Two other teams also have their sights set on 4-2 records, William Lyburn, Winnipeg, who plays Dayna Deruelle (2-3, Brampton) and Greg Balsdon, Kingston, who is up against Pat Simmons (1-4, Winnipeg).