PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. — As a new mixed doubles pair, Reid Carruthers and Jill Officer had a lot to work out in a short amount of time. But it seems to have paid off as the pair is off to a 2-0 start at the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Trials in Portage la Prairie, Man. But they aren’t the only team with two wins so far. After the first day of competition there are five teams with two wins in the pool.
Carruthers, the 2017 world mixed doubles silver-medallist, needed a replacement for the event after his 2016-17 partner Joanne Courtney booked her ticket to Pyeongchang in the women’s competition with Rachel Homan’s four-player team. Carruthers called upon Officer and the duo has quickly found a groove on the ice. They’re 2-0 in the round robin after defeating Nancy Martin and Catlin Schneider during Draw 5 action at Stride Centre.
“I’m really happy with how we are throwing the rock, talking about paths and doing all the little things that go into mixed doubles,” Carruthers said of his partner.
Officer and Carruthers didn’t start with the hammer and forced Martin and Schneider to one point. From that point on Officer/Carruthers didn’t look back. They scored a deuce in the second thanks to a draw from Officer that was set up by a stellar hit and roll behind cover from Carruthers the shot prior.
Officer and Carruthers forced Martin to play some hard weight shots on her final stones in the third and fourth ends. The pair stole a point in each of those ends and took a 4-1 lead heading into the fourth end break.
Martin/Schneider responded with a deuce in the fifth, but Officer/Carruthers dealt some damage in the sixth end on the power play. Martin was heavy on her final draw to sit second shot, setting up an Officer hit for four.
Despite going on the power play in the seventh, Martin and Schneider could not produce points. Officer and Carruthers scored two more, taking a 10-3 lead and ending the game. The loss halts an otherwise great start for Martin/Schneider, who are 2-1 after the first day of competition.
Officer/Carruthers are now 2-0 and one of the teams to look out for in Pool A at the Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials. But Carruthers doesn’t think his team is alone in that spotlight.
“It’s hard not to find a target out here. Every team is really good. Even the teams that are not the well-known name teams, they certainly are in mixed doubles,” he said.
One sheet over was an important game featuring two other prominent Pool A teams. Jocelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant won a nail biter on the last rock. Peterman threw a precise draw to score two and secure a 7-6 win against Emilie and Robert Desjardins.
“We were trying to decide between the hit and draw there. The hit we thought was there, but we weren’t 100 per cent convinced. The draw we knew we could make it. It was difficult, but we knew we could make it,” Gallant said of his partner’s final shot.
The Peterman/Gallant win puts the team at 2-0 and drops Desjardin/Desjardin to 2-1. Also joining them at 2-1 is Jennifer Jones and Mark Nichols, who bounced back from an afternoon loss by routing Sherry Just/Tyrel Griffith 12-3.
Mike and Dawn McEwen celebrated their first victory at the championship by defeating fellow Manitobans Shannon Birchard and Jason Gunnlaugson 5-4.
The 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials continue with a final draw Tuesday at 9:45 p.m. (all times CST). Wednesday, games are scheduled for 8 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
CBC Sports is providing streaming coverage of the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials round-robin draw, with playoff games being broadcast on CBC Sports TV. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
For ticket information for the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials, CLICK HERE.