SUMMERSIDE – Skipping a team from Regina, Seven Mile Bay native Adam Casey is heading into the final day of round-robin play at the 2017 Home Hardware Road to the Roar Olympic pre-trials with renewed hope.
Team Casey recovered from giving up a three-ender in the first end of its Thursday afternoon game at Eastlink Arena to down the John Morris rink from Vernon, B.C., 9-8.
The combination of Casey’s win, and Morris’s loss, puts both teams at 2-2 in their seven-team pool. Two other teams in their pool, Colton Flasch from Saskatoon and Jason Gunnlaugson from Winnipeg, also head into the final day of the round robin with 2-2 records. They all trail Glenn Howard’s Ontario rink, which moved to 4-0 with an 8-5 win Thursday afternoon against Gunnlaugson.
“There’s a whole crew in our pool now with two losses,” acknowledged Casey, who is skipping a team consisting of Brock Montgomery at third stone, Shaun Meachem at second and lead stone Dustin Kidby. “I’m really hoping to win both our games tomorrow (Friday), and put ourselves in the playoffs.”
Casey plays Howard in Friday’s 8 a.m. draw, and he finishes against Gunnlaugson in the 8 p.m. draw.
“I’m really happy with the way the guys battled after giving up three in that first end,” Casey said, “so we're in position now that we have to win the last two games.”
He said he is enjoying the hometown support.
“It’s an awesome city to get behind its athletes, and I think if we keep rolling there will be a big crowd here for us on the weekend,” said Casey.
Howard was happy to add to his win column against Gunnlaugson, who took a 4-2 lead when he hit for three in the sixth. But Howard battled back.
“We got a count of two out of nowhere in the seventh end, and then a two came out of nowhere in the ninth, and (in the tenth) Gunner had a shot to win the game,” Howard summarized.
The hard-hitting, toe-sliding Gunnlaugson, needed a delicate double takeout with hammer in the 10th, but his shot sailed through the port and Howard’s unbeaten record continued.
Right behind the four 2-2 teams is Halifax’s Jamie Murphy, who dropped to 2-3 as a result to a 8-6 extra-end loss to Mark Bice from Sarnia. Bice is now 1-4.
The top three teams in Pool A as well as the top three Pool B teams will advance to the playoff round, which starts Saturday.
Out of that competition two teams will advance to the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifying championship in Ottawa from Dec. 2 to 10. The final two qualifiers will join seven teams that have already won entry to that event.
The playoff picture is not much clearer in Pool B.
Charley Thomas from Edmonton is all alone in first place at 4-0 following a 7-5 win over Winnipeg’s Pat Simmons in Thursday’s late draw. Thomas and his rink of Mark Lizmore, Brandon Klassen and D.J. Kidby stole a point in the final end for the victory. William Lyburn is in second at 3-2 following a 6-4 win over Jean-Michel Menard from Saint-Romuald, Que. Menard slipped to 2-3.
Two teams are at 2-2, Brendan Bottcher from Edmonton and Greg Balsdon from Kingston, Ont. Botcher climbed into the hunt with a 5-4 win over Balsdon in the 4 p.m. draw. Simmons and Dayna Deruelle from Brampton, Ont. trail the field at 1-3.