At the start of the Canad Inns Mixed Doubles Trials, most curling observers felt that three losses was the maximum number of defeats a team could afford if they had playoff aspirations. At the end of Day 2 in Portage, there are already 6 teams that have surpassed that threshold while 4 other teams find themselves at three losses. Meanwhile, the teams of Ferguson/Bottcher and Crocker/Walker have secured spots in the playoffs while the team of Peterman/Gallant is in a really good position at 5-0 heading into the final day of round-robin action.
When mixed doubles was added to the Olympic program a couple of years ago there was an influx of elite players into mixed doubles events, players that would have likely not paid much attention to mixed doubles were it not for the Olympics. That being said, there are five teams in Portage that played in mixed doubles events before the discipline was added to the Olympics and/or teams that can be considered “Mixed Doubles Specialists”. Many curling observers were eager to see how these teams would fare at the Mixed Doubles Trials and early results have not been kind to these five teams that have a combined record of 6-20 after Day 2. The team of Desjardins/Desjardins lead the way at 3-2 and Park/Thomas are at 3-3 while the teams of Tuck/Tuck, Stewart/Stewart and Kasner/Kalthoff have yet to taste victory in Portage.
By all accounts there was a much different vibe in the arena for Day 2 of the Mixed Doubles Trials. Day 1 was somewhat of a “feeling out” process for several teams, some of whom had never played a competitive mixed doubles game together, as they got used to the ice conditions and other possible distractions such as music being played in the arena while games were ongoing. On Day 2, several observers mentioned that there was more intensity on the ice and in the building as some teams were feeling additional pressure after early losses while other teams looked to maintain their momentum and position themselves in the chase for the playoffs. It will be interesting to observe the on-ice dynamic on Day 3 as some teams secure playoff spots early in the day while others see their Olympic dreams evaporate.
At the end of Day 2, the Team of Peterman/Gallant lead the way in Pool A with a record of 5-0 while in Pool B, the teams of Ferguson/Bottcher and Crocker/Walker are tied at the top with records of 6-0.
(Photo credits – Curling Canada/Michael Burns)