Four teams booked express tickets to the men’s and women’s semifinals at the 2021 Everest Canadian Curling Club Championships as of early Friday evening.
Laura Eby of the Yukon and Ontario’s Laurie Shields took direct routes to the final four on the women’s side. At the same time, Darren Higgins of Prince Edward Island and Ontario’s Adam Spencer both clinched spots early at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.
Yukon’s Eby (Whitehorse Curling Club) was the first women’s team to qualify for the semifinals following back-to-back wins on Friday.
The team handed Alberta’s Tiffany Steuber of the Spruce Grove Curling Club her first loss at the event in the opening playoff draw. Eby and her team capitalized with scores of two in the fifth end and three in the seventh to clinch their first win of the day. Yukon followed up with another win in the afternoon to secure a spot in the final four. This time, Eby and her team utilized a steal of four early in the game against New Brunswick’s Julia Goodin (Curl Moncton) en route to an 8-5 win.
Ontario’s Laurie Shields of the York Curling Club also took the most direct route to the women’s semifinals with two victories on Friday. First, her team maneuvered by Shelly Bradley of Prince Edward Island’s Charlottetown Curling Club with a 5-2 win. Ontario had a similar performance later with another win over a team from the Atlantic provinces. Her team bested Nova Scotia’s Celina Thompson, representing the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax by a score of 6-2.
Prince Edward Island third Tim Hockin. (Photo, Curling Canada/Jack Gustafson)
On the men’s side, Darren Higgins of the Silver Fox Curling Club in Summerside, P.E.I., was the first past the post in qualifying for the men’s semifinal. Prince Edward Island doubled British Columbia’s Darren Frycz of the Langley Curling Centre 6-3 to stay in the A-side of the bracket. In the afternoon, P.E.I. rocketed into action with a score of three in the first end against Nicholas Deagle of the Bridgewater Curling Club in Nova Scotia. P.E.I. won the game 10-4 to become the first men’s quartet in the semifinals.
Ontario’s Adam Spencer of the Guelph Curling Club joined P.E.I. in the semifinals with a two-win day. Spencer, who played second for Ontario’s Glenn Howard at the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier, started the day with a 10-3 win against Mark Noseworthy of the RE/MAX Curling Centre/St. John’s Curling Club in Newfoundland and Labrador. Spencer followed it up with another formidable performance against Quebec’s Philippe Ménard of the Club de Curling St-Bruno by score of 6-3.
The final playoff draw begins at 7:30 p.m. (all times Eastern). For the women, Alberta (Steuber) and Nova Scotia (Thompson) will play for one semifinal slot and New Brunswick (Goodin) and Northern Ontario’s Tracey Larocque of the Fort William Curling Club in Thunder Bay will play for the other one. [PEI women, skipped by Shelly Bradley, lost both of their playoff games on Friday, losing their second match 8-6 to N. Ont., and won’t advance to the semis.]
On the men’s side, Manitoba’s Trevor Loreth (Granite Curling Club, Winnipeg), takes on Nova Scotia (Deagle) and Saskatchewan’s Dean Grindheim of the Sutherland Curling Club in Saskatoon plays Quebec’s Ménard. Both winners advance to the semifinals.
The semifinals begin on Saturday at 9 a.m., followed by the gold- and bronze-medal games at 2 p.m.
Games from the 2021 Everest Canadian Curling Club Championships will be live-streamed on TSN.ca as well as on Curling Canada’s YouTube channel. Check curling.ca/broadcast for the up-to-date broadcast schedule.