The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling was in Sault Ste Marie this past week for the Boost National, the 3rd grand slam event of the season.  There were several interesting storylines the round-robin got under way as most of the elite teams were playing their last event of 2016.  How would Brad Gushue perform in his first event of the season?  Would Team Edin win their third straight Grand Slam title?  Would team Jacobs win a much-needed title while playing in front of a hometown crowd? Could Team Carruthers and Team Jones “double up” on their victories at last week’s Canada Cup?  Would Team Homan win their first Grand Slam event of the season? Would the string of surprising winners and finalists continue in women’s Grand Slam action this season?

Boost National Men’s Event

In the men’s event, the only two undefeated teams in the round-robin were Team Gushue and Team Carruthers who had met in the final of last week’s Canada Cup.  As often happens at Grand Slam events, tiebreakers were needed to finalize the playoff qualifiers.  In the tiebreakers, it was Team Epping defeating Team McEwen, Team Jacobs beating Team de Cruz of Switzerland and Team Thomas defeating Team Bottcher.

In their quarterfinal, Team Carruthers broke open a tight game by scoring three points in the 7th end for a 7-3 victory over Team Epping.  For their part, Team Edin gave up a steal of one point in the 7th end to tie their game with Team Koe but then scored a single point in an extra-end for a 6-5 victory over the 2016 World Champions.  Team Gushue continued their fine play for the week but they also needed an extra-end to defeat Team Thomas by a score of 4-3.  The fourth quarterfinal was a rematch of the 2013 Olympic Trials final with Team Jacobs coming out on top again by scoring three points in the 8th end to defeat Team Morris by a score of 6-5.

In their semi-final, Team Edin ran into a buzz saw as Team Carruthers stole a total of six points in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th ends on their way to a 7-0 victory over the European champions and the team that had won the season’s previous two grand slam events.   In the other semi-final, Team Jacobs scored three points in the 8th end for a second consecutive playoff game to defeat Team Gushue by a score of 5-3.

The final was a well-played game that saw neither team give their opposition much to work with.  The game took a turn in the 6th end when Team Jacobs stole a point to take a 3-2 lead.  Team Carruthers blanked the 7th end only to see Team Jacobs steal another point in 8th for a 4-2 victory in front of a home crowd in Sault Ste Marie.  It was a second title for Team Jacobs this season and a first Grand Slam title since the 2015 Players Championships in Toronto.

Boost National Women’s Event

In the women’s event, Team Sweeting continued their recent strong play and were the only team to finish the round-robin undefeated.  There were two tiebreakers on the women’s side with Team Feltscher of Switzerland defeating Team Hasselborg of Sweden and Team Carey of Calgary defeating Team Jones of Winnipeg.

Despite going undefeated in the round-robin, Team Sweeting lost their quarterfinal game to Team Feltscher, the 2016 World Champions from Switzerland, by a score of 8-2.  Team Einarson scored two points in the 8th end to defeat Team Sidorova of Russia by a score 8-7 in a game where the momentum changed on several occasions.  Team Tirinzoni of Switzerland took a 5-2 lead into the 6th end of their quarterfinal against Team Carey when they stole four points for a 9-2 victory over the 2016 Canadian champions.  In the fourth quarterfinal on the women’s side, Team McCarville and Team Homan engaged in a battle where both teams took advantage of the few mistakes made by the other team.  The game turned in the 7th end when Krista McCarville made a difficult double takeout to score three points for an 8-5 victory over Team Homan.

In the first women’s semi-final, Team Einarson took control of their game against Team Feltscher by scoring four points in the 3rd end to take a 6-2 lead.  Team Feltscher narrowed the gap by stealing a point in the 7th end but Team Einarson held on for a 9-6 victory.  In the other semi-final, Team McCarville took a 5-2 lead when they stole two points in the 6th end against Team Tirinzoni but it was a steal of two points by the Swiss team, the result of a missed hit by Krista McCarville on her last rock, that gave them a 6-5 victory.

In the championship final, Team Einarson took a 3-2 lead in the 5th end by stealing a point against Team Tirinzoni and forced the Swiss rink to take a single point in the 6th to tie the game at 3-3.  In the 7th end, Silvana Tirinzoni missed a double takeout with her final rock allowing Kerri Einarson to draw for two points and a 5-3 lead.  The 2016 Manitoba champions then ran the Swiss out of rocks in the 8th end for their first Grand Slam title and their first title of the year on the World Curling Tour.  It has been quite a turnaround for Team Einarson who had failed to qualify for the playoffs in each of their events this season prior to their semi-final appearance at last week’s Canada Cup followed by their victory in Sault Ste Marie at the Boost National.

Interviews with both Brad Jacobs and Kerri Einarson discussing their victories at the Boost National can be found here. Read more

MCT Championships

In the men’s event at the MCT Championships in Dauphin (MB), Team Loreth and Team Atkins of Winnipeg qualified for the playoffs through the A Event but neither team could win their quarterfinal game.  In the semi-finals, it was David Bohn winning the battle of the Bohn brothers stealing two points in the 3rd end then scoring three more points in the 5th end on the way to an 8-4 victory over his brother Dennis.  In a battle of the “young guns”, Team Calvert scored two points in the 8th end to defeat Team Dunstone by a score of 7-6.

In the final, Team David Bohn stole two points in the 4th end to take a 6-2 lead and put the game away by stealing one more in the 7th end for a 9-4 victory over Team Calvert and their second title of the season.

The women’s event saw Shannon Birchard and her team from Winnipeg go undefeated in the round-robin but then lose the 1 versus 2 game to Team Robertson by a score of 5-3.  Team Birchard then scored two points in an extra-end to defeat Team Brown of Winnipeg 9-7 in the semi-final to set-up a rematch with Team Robertson in the final.

Team Robertson and Team Birchard were tied at 2-2 following the 4th end of the final when team Birchard scored three points in the 5th to take a 5-2 lead.  Team Robertson closed the gap to 5-4 in the 6th end then stole two points in the 8th end to win the game 6-5 FOR their first title of the season.

Brantford Nissan Classic

Many of Southern Ontario’s best teams were in Brantford on the weekend for the Nissan Classic.  In the men’s event, Team Howard was the only team to go undefeated in the round-robin.  However, in their semi-final against Team Maus of Toronto, Team Howard gave up a steal of one in the 2nd and were never able to generate any offense in a 4-2 loss.  In the other semi-final, Team Bice of Sarnia stole two points in the 2nd and one more in the 3rd on their way to a 5-1 win over team Heggestad.

In the final, Team Bice scored four points in the 3rd end to take a 4-1 lead then watched as Team Maus scored two points in the 4th and steal two more in the 5th to take a 5-4 lead.  Team Bice took control of the game by scoring three points in the 6th and holding on for an 8-6 win and their first title of the season.

In the women’s event, Team Tippin of Woodstock and Team Harrison, were the only two teams to go undefeated in the round-robin.  In their semi-final, Team Harrison defeated Team Nicol of Ottawa by taking a 6-0 lead in the first half of the game and holding on for an 8-3 victory.  In the other semi-final, Team Tippin took a 4-1 lead after five ends then held on for a 5-3 win over Team Auld of Toronto.

In the women’s final, Team Harrison took a 3-1 lead over Team Tippin when they stole a point in the 5th end then exchanged single points in the 6th and 7th for a 4-2 win and their second title of the season following their win at last month’s GSOC Tour Challenge Tier 2 event.

If you haven’t done so yet, please scroll down to subscribe to From The Hack’s “Weekly Curling Report”.  This week’s WCR includes interviews with the winning skips from the Boost National, the first edition of “Curling World” featuring an interview with Kim Forge, President of the Australian Curling Federation and “Sound Bites” from interviews we did with several of the curlers at the Boost National in Sault Ste Marie



There are two combined events on Week 18 that will take place in cities that are close to 6,000 miles in distance from each other.  At the Karuizawa International in Japan, Team Murdoch will look to defend their title against a field that includes Team Morris of British Columbia, Team Stjerne of Denmark, Team Brewster of Scotland and Team Morozumi, the hometown favourites, who won the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships earlier this season.

In the women’s event, Team Ogasawara of Japan will look to defend their title against a strong field that includes Team Muirhead of Scotland, Team Sweeting of Alberta, Team Sidorova of Russia, Team Sigfridsson of Sweden and Team Wang of China.

At the Curl Mesabi event in Eveleth (MN), Team Shuster will look to defend their title in a field that also includes Team Dunstone of Manitoba, Tour Challenge Tier 2 winners Team Baldson of Kingston, Team Liu of China and Team McCormick who will represent the United States at the Continental Cup in Las Vegas next month.

The three teams to watch in the women’s event at Curl Mesabi will be Team Christensen and Team Sinclair, the second and third ranked women’s team in the U.S., along with Team Chyz of Alberta who will be looking for their fourth title of the season.

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Week 17 Recap