WEEK 21 RESULTS
Meridian Canadian Open
The Grand Slam of Curling made its way to North Battleford, Saskatchewan this weekend for the Meridian Canadian Open. The fourth Grand Slam of this season is different from others in that a triple knockout format is used as opposed to the round-robin format used in other GSOC events. Among the teams invited to this year’s Meridian Canadian Open were the winners of the Tour Challenge Tier 2 earlier this season, Team Baldson in the men’s event and Team Harrison in the women’s event.
Team Edin and Team Jacobs continued their strong play and qualified for the playoffs through the A event where they were joined by Jacobs, McEwen, Morris, Bottcher, Shuster and Team Laycock of Saskatchewan who were crowd favourites all week. The quarterfinals provided little drama aside from the Guhsue vs Laycock game which was closely contested until Team Gushue scored two points in the 7th end to take a 5-2 lead and the victory.
In their semi-final, Team Gushue scored a curling shutout as they defeated Team Jacobs 4-0. In fact, Team Gushue did not have the hammer at any point in the game and stole two points in the 4th along with single points in the 6th and 7th ends to steal the victory. In the other semi-final, Team Morris scored three points in the 4th end to take a 4-3 lead half way through their game against Team Edin. However, the Swedes scored two points of their own in the 6th end then stole single points in the 7th and 8th ends on their way to a 7-4 victory.
In the final, Team Gushue took an early lead when they scored four points in the 2nd to go up 4-1 and looked to be headed for a steal in the 3rd before Niklas Edin made a difficult raise to the four-foot to score one point. The two teams then exchanged single points in the 4th and 5th ends before Team Gushue took control by scoring three points in the 6th end on their way to an 8-4 victory. It was Team Gushue’s sixth Grand Slam victory as a team and a seventh overall Grand Slam victory for Brad Gushue.
The Grand Slam of curling has provided several surprises this season on the women’s side. Starting with Team Flaxey defeating Team Homan in the final at the Masters, Team Englot reaching the final at the Tour Challenge and Team Einarson recovering from a slow start to their season on their way to a victory at the National. Would the season’s trend of surprise winners and finalists continue in North Battleford?
Team Sweeting and Team Tirinzoni qualified through the A event and were joined in the playoffs by Harrison, Hasselborg, Flaxey, Fleury, Jones and Scheidegger. As it turned out, the biggest surprise early at the Meridian Canadian Open was that Team Homan failed to reach the playoffs after qualifying in their last 18 women’s Grand Slams.
The most compelling match-up of the quarterfinals saw Team Scheidegger, playing in their first Tier 1 Grand Slam event, against Team Jones. The team from Lethbridge fell behind 4-1 but staged a late comeback, including soring two points in the 8th end, for a 6-5 victory and a spot in the semi-finals where they were joined by Tirinzoni, Hasselborg and Sweeting.
In their semi-final, Team Scheidegger took an early lead by scoring three points in the 2nd end followed by a steal of two points in the 3rd and another stolen point in the 4th end. Team Sweeting managed to score two points in the 5th but were never really in the game as Team Scheidegger won 7-3. In the other semi-final, Team Tirinzoni took a 4-1 lead half way through the game only to see Team Hasselborg close the gap to 4-3 by scoring two points in the 5th end. Team Tirinzoni responded by scoring three points of their own in the 6th end on their way to a 7-4 victory and a second consecutive Grand Slam final appearance.
In the final, Team Tirinzoni took a 2-0 lead by stealing a point in the 2nd end only to see Team Scheidegger score one in the 3rd and then steal single points in the 4th and 5th ends to take a 3-2 lead. Team Tirinzoni seemed to grab momentum by scoring two points in the 6th end then forcing their opponents to a single point in the 7th to tie the game at 4-4. The game came down to last rock with Team Tirinzoni coming up light on their draw allowing Team Scheidegger to steal one point for a 5-4 win, their first Grand Slam title and their fourth title of the season.
From th Hack interviewed both winning skips, Brad Gushue and Casey Scheidegger. See more
Mercure Perth Masters
The Mercure Perth Masters brought together teams from 13 countries including Team Ulsrud, Team Murdoch, Team Brewster and Team de Cruz all vying for the title won last year by Team Koe of Canada. Team Ulsrud of Norway and Team Baumann of Germany both qualified for the playoffs through the A event and both won their quarterfinal games.
In one semi-final, Team Ulsrud was defeated by Team Walstad in a “Battle of Norway”. Walstad took an early 3-0 lead by stealing two points in the 2nd, took a 6-2 lead half way through the game when they scored three points in the 4th end then stole another point in the 6th on their way to a 7-2 victory. In the other semi-final, Team Brewster was behind 4-2 against Team Baumann when they scored two points in the 7th to tie the game then stole two points in the 8th end for a 6-4 victory.
The final saw Team Brewster take an early 3-1 lead only to see the Norwegians tie the game at 3-3 with two points in the 5th. In the 6th end, Team Brewster scored three points and followed that up with a steal of two points in the 7th to put the game out of reach. The 8-3 victory was Team Brewster’s second WCT title of the season to go along with their victory at the Scottish European Playdowns.
King Cash Spiel
The King Cash Spiel is a new event that was played in Maple Ridge, BC. The women’s event saw Team Gushulak of Vancouver, Team Kleibrink of Okotoks, Team Chyz of Calgary and Team Thompson of Kamloops qualify for the final four. In one semi-final, Team Thompson scored two points in the 3rd and followed that up with a steal of two in the 4th and another steal of one in the 5th for a 5-1 win over Team Chyz. In the other semi-final, Team Kleibrink took a 4-2 lead in the 3rd end then stole single points in the 4th, 5th and 6th ends to win the game 7-2 over Team Gushulak.
In the final, Team Thompson took a 5-1 lead thru three ends only to see Team Kleibrink fight their way back by scoring two points in the 4th then stealing single points in three straight ends to take a 6-5 lead heading into the 8th. Team Thompson managed to shake off the previous three ends to score two points for a 7-6 victory and their first title of the season.
In the men’s event, local favourites Team Joanisse earned a direct spot in the final by finishing atop of the round-robin standings where they met Team Sieg of Seattle. Joanisse took an early lead by scoring three points in the 2nd and broke the game open late by scoring three more points in the 6th end for a 7-2 victory and their second title of the season.
WEEK 22 PREVIEW
This week, the 13th Continental Cup of Curling will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Team North America will be looking for its 4th consecutive victory in the series which now stands at eight victories for Team North America and four victories for Team World.
From the Hack interviewed Rick Lang, coach of Team North America, and Nolan Thiessen who was a member of last year’s victorious team. See more
Team North America will include Team Jones of Winnipeg, Team Carey of Calgary, Team Sinclair of Minnesota, Team Carruthers of Winnipeg, Team Koe of Calgary and Team McCormick of Minnesota. The group provides a mix of experience and youth with Team Jones and Team Koe being the only teams with significant experience at the event while Heath McCormick, Reid Carruthers and Laine Peters (Team Carey) have competed in past Continental Cups with other teams. Team North America is coached by Rick Lang of Canada and the captain is Debbie McCormick of the United States.
Team World will consist of Team Edin of Sweden, Team Ulsrud of Norway, Team Stjerne of Denmark, Team Feltscher of Switzerland, Team Hasselborg of Sweden and Team Fujisawa of Japan. The only two teams with significant experience in the event are Team Edin and Team Ulsrud while Satsuki Fujisawa skipped a different lineup in the event in 2014. Pal Trulsen of Norway will coach Team World which will be captained by Andy Kapp of Germany.
(Photo credits: Team Gushue and Team Scheidegger – Grand Slam of Curling/Anil Mungal)