This week, we recap the World Mixed Curling Championships, Week 10 on the WCT and we preview the Masters Grand Slam.
World Mixed Curling Championships
An impressive 37 countries were on hand in Kazan, Russia for the 2nd World Mixed Curling Championships. Canada was represented by Mick Lizmore, Sarah Wilkes, Brad Thiessen and Alison Kotylak who won the Canadian Championships last year in Toronto.
There were five countries that went undefeated in round-robin pool play including Canada, Scotland, Sweden, Germany and Russia who were joined in the playoffs by non-traditional curling countries such as Poland, Hungary and Turkey among others.
The Canadian team defeated the Czech Republic in the Round of 16 which set-up a quarterfinal game against Scotland. In a tightly played game, Canada was ahead 5-4 entering the 8th end but the Scottish team had the hammer and scored two points for the victory.
In the semifinals, Russia defeated Korea 5-2 while Sweden took an early 5-1 lead on their way to an 8-2 victory over Scotland. In the bronze medal game, Scotland scored three points in the 8th end to win 8-4 over Korea in what was an otherwise competitive game. In a very well played final, it was the hometown favourites from Russia defeating Sweden 5-4 by scoring a point in an extra-end for the victory.
From The Hack caught up with skip Mick Lizmore of Team Canada to discuss the 2016 World Mixed Curling Championships.
Canad Inns Women’s Classic
The headline event on the WCT this weekend was the Canad Inns Women’s Classic. Kim EunJung and her team from Koreas were on hand to defend the title they won last year but did not make it to the playoffs. It was Team Hasselborg of Sweden and Team Fleury of Sudbury who got off to strong starts by qualifying through the A Event but only Team Hasselborg made it to the semi-finals. Team Wang of China, who defeated Team Fleury in the QF, tied their semi-final game against Team Matsumura of Japan by scoring a single point in the 8th end but lost 6-5 when the Japanese scored a single point of their own in the extra-end. In the other semi-final, Team Homan stole a point in the 3rd end against Team Hasselborg to take a 2-0 lead and then the teams exchanged single points over the 2nd half of the game which Team Homan won 4-2. Team Homan took an early 6-1 lead over Team Matusumura in the final on their way to a 9-4 victory. Team Homan has won both events they have entered this season.
Challenge de Curling de Gatineau
The pre-event favourites did not disappoint as both Team Gushue and Team Epping qualified for the playoffs through the A side. Local favourites, Team Menard of Gatineau, made it to the final of the C event but were unable to qualify for the playoffs. In one semi-final, Team Dunstone scored three points in the 7th end to help them upset Team Gushue 8-3. In the other semi-final, Team Baldson of Kingston stole a point in the 7th end to tie the game but Team Epping scored a single point of their own in the 8th end for a 6-5 victory. In the final, Team Epping scored three points in the 3rd end then held on for a 4-3 victory over Team Dunstone. It was Team Epping’s first title in Canada since last season’s Canadian Open Grand Slam in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
Curling Masters Champery
The Curling Champions Tour was in Champery (Switzerland) this weekend for the Curling Masters Champery that involved some of the top men’s teams in Europe including Team Edin, Team Ulsrud and Team de Cruz. The round-robin portion of the event saw several teams play well but only Team Pfister of Switzerland emerged undefeated. In the playoffs, Team Pfister won their quarterfinal game setting-up a semifinal against Team Kauste of Finland that the Swiss team won 6-5 in an extra-end. In the other semifinal, Team Edin broke the game open by scoring three points in the 5th end to beat Team Walstad of Norway 6-2.
In the final, Team Edin stole single points in the 3rd and 4th ends and took control of the game by scoring three points in the 6th end on their way to a 7-5 victory over Team Pfister. It was Team Edin’s third title of the season heading into the first Grand Slam of the 2016-17 season.
Medicine Hat Charity Classic
The Medicine Hat Charity Classic was a combined event involving teams from Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia. In the women’s event, Team Gim of Korea and Team Meakin of Saskatchewan both qualified for the playoffs through the A side but only the Korean team made it to the semifinals. Team Gim lost 6-4 to Team Chyz who took an early lead by stealing a point in the 3rd and another two points in the 4th end of their 6-4 victory. In the other semifinal, Team Scheidegger continued their strong play this season by defeating Team Schultz of Minnesota 5-3. In the final, Team Scheidegger broke the game wide open by scoring six points in the 2nd end on their way to an 8-2 victory over Team Chyz. The win made it three World Curling Tour victories so far this season by Team Scheidegger.
In the men’s event, Team Meachem and Team Peters both qualified through the A side but only Team Peters made it to the semifinals where they lost 6-1 to Team Appelman who stole a total of four points during the game. In the other semifinal, Team Jacobson of Saskatoon stole two points in the 2nd and then scored three points in the 4th end on their way to an 8-6 victory over Team Hartung. In the final, Team Jacobson took a 4-2 lead in the first half of the game and never looked back as they defeated Team Appleman 6-2.
Lady Monctonian Invitational Spiel
The top women’s teams on the East Coast were in Moncton for the Lady Monctonian Invitational Spiel. Team Breen of Halifax was the only undefeated team in the round-robin but were defeated in their quarterfinal game. In the semifinals, the two most recent skips for Team Nova Scotia at the Scotties battled it out with Team Brothers stealing two points in the 8th end for a 4-2 victory over Team Arsenault. In the other semifinal, a steal of two points in the 5th end gave Team MacPhee of Charlottetown a 5-2 lead and they held on for an 8-5 victory over hometown favourites Team Tatlock. In the final, Team Brothers broke open a 2-2 game by scoring three points in the 6th end on their way to a 5-3 victory over Team MacPhee for their first title of the 2016-17 season.
WEEKLY CURLING REPORT
Each week, From The Hack publishes its “Weekly Curling Report” to subscribers. This week the “Weekly Curling Report” includes interviews with Mike Harris, Mark Nichols and Rob Faulds to talk about the Grand Slam season that starts this week with the Masters. We also talk to Jocelyn Peterman of Team Carey and Rick Warner of “TheCommunityFundraiser.com” about the Women of Curling Calendar. You can subscribe for the “Weekly Curling Report” at the end of the Week 10 Recap.
HONOURABLE MENTION PERFORMANCE
Our Honourable Mention Performance of the week goes to Team Robillard of Ottawa who defeated four higher-ranked teams on their way to a quarterfinal appearance at the Challenge de Curling de Gatineau.
- In most sports if the 100th ranked player/team defeats the top-ranked player/team in the world it would cause ripples across the sport. This weekend, Jin Mei and her team from Harbin (ranked 100th) defeated Team Homan in their first game at the Canad Inns Women’s Classic and no one in the curling universe flinched.
- Last season teams from Asia made the finals of WCT events a total of 18 times. We are still in October and Asian teams have already made 14 finals in 2016-17.
WEEK 11 PREVIEW
The Masters, the first Grand Slam of the season, will take place this week in Okotoks, Alberta. Play starts on Tuesday evening with 15 teams battling for the titles won by Team Homan and Team McEwen last season with television coverage starting on Thursday afternoon. For a more detailed preview of the season’s first Grand Slam please click on the following link. – Masters preview
The Huron ReproGraphics Oil Heritage Classic will be held in Sarnia Ontario and includes a strong mix of teams from Ontario along with Team McCormick of the U.S. and Team Pfister of Switzerland. Team Shuster, the 2015 champions, will not be on hand to defend as they will be playing in the Masters Grand Slam.
The Grand Prairie Cash Spiel is a regional event that will include a strong mix of teams from British Columbia and Alberta looking to gain experience and WCT points.