PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MAN. — Brad Gushue (St. John’s) and Val Sweeting (Edmonton) along with John Morris (Canmore, Alta.) and Kaitlyn Lawes (Winnipeg) will play each other in the Page 1 vs. 2 playoff game after their victories at the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Trials on Friday evening.
Sweeting and Gushue are becoming more comfortable with each other on the ice as they go deeper into the playoffs. The pair lost their first two games of the Trials, but has rallied by winning seven of their last eight games. Gushue’s four-player teammate Mark Nichols and his partner Jennifer Jones were the latest to feel the wrath of Sweeting/Gushue at Stride Place, on the receiving end of a 10-3 thrashing in the second round of the playoffs.
Sweeting/Gushue put a steal of three up on the board in the first end and added another two in the second end after Jones was light on an inturn tap. Jones/Nichols utilized their power play in the next end and it helped produce a deuce to get them within three. In the fourth, Sweeting attempted to punch one of her own rocks into the pile in the four-foot for a crooked number score but hit it thick for one and a 6-2 lead. The pair added another point in the fifth. Jones/Nichols scored one in the sixth on a failed split attempt and shook hands after the seventh end when they gave up three.
“I think we’re pretty good,” Gushue said when asked if he would want to play his team at the Canad Inn Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials. “Having said that, I don’t necessarily want to play a lot of these guys out here either. I feel confident in how we played today and certainly if we can continue that into tomorrow and hopefully on Sunday we’re going to have a good chance.”
Lawes/Morris and Joycelyn Peterman and Brett Gallant duelled for the other spot in the 1 vs. 2 Page playoff game. After giving up a steal in the first end, Peterman and Gallant scored a single in the second and produced a steal of one in the third to take a 2-1 lead. Lawes and Morris put two rocks in the four-foot to score two in the fourth and take the lead for the first time in the game at 3-2.
Peterman/Gallant struggled to put up more than one point throughout the game. They scored another single in the fifth for a 3-3 tie, but Lawes and Morris tacked on three in the sixth. Peterman made a spectacular triple for two in the seventh end, but Lawes/Morris scored a single in eight to win 7-5.
“I think no matter who you’re playing in the 1-2 game it’s going to be a battle,” Morris said. “That was sure a grind out there. That’s why they [Peterman/Gallant] were 8-0 because they’re just fantastic at this game and it was just a good thing we had the brick and Kaitlyn just made a dandy with her last one. It was nice to watch.”
The winner of the Page 1-2 game, set for Saturday at 4 p.m. (all times AT), will go straight to Sunday’s gold-medal game at 2:30 p.m., where Canada’s first Olympic mixed doubles team will be decided.
Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson continue on their path towards the gold medal game through the B-side of the playoffs. The pair nailed a hit for five in the sixth end on their way to an 11-5 victory against Dana Ferguson and Brendan Bottcher. The win moves Carey/Hodgson further in the B-side playoffs, while Ferguson/Bottcher were eliminated.
In a wild turn of events in the other B-side game, Jill Officer and Reid Carruthers defeated Laura Crocker and Geoff Walker 6-4 Officer/Carruthers led 5-4 going into the eighth end without the hammer. They were sitting one before their last shot but were also racing the clock. Officer didn’t get her last rock thrown in time, providing Walker/Crocker with a free opportunity to win the game with a hit. Walker threw it wide and missed the targeted rock, letting Officer off the hook.
Officer and Carruthers stay alive on the B-side; meanwhile, after going undefeated in the round robin, Walker and Crocker lost two straight and are eliminated.
It will be do-or-die for the four remaining teams in the double knockout playoffs on Saturday at 8 a.m. Carey/Hodgson face Jones/Nichols and Officer/Carruthers take on Peterman/Gallant.
The winning teams will advance to the 3 vs. 4 Page playoff game at noon; the winner will go to Saturday’s 7 p.m. semifinal against the loser of the Page 1-2 game.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
CBC Sports TV is providing streaming coverage of the 2018 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials, 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.