On the final round robin day at t he Canadian Nationals in Kelowna BC it could have been a host committe nightmare 5-way tie for the fourth playoff spot, but at the end of the day only Alberta posted the necessary two wins to join BC Host, BC and Manitoba.
BC Host and Manitoba fought a war of attrition in the last draw, with singles all the way to the eighth end when suddenly the Host team were sitting 4 and Manitoba had to draw to the four foot to save the game. Chris Sobkowicz's draw was a little light and BC Host stole two for a 5-4 win. We watched the game and there are a few notes at the end of this post.
BC Host (8-1) will play BC (7-2) in the Page playoff 1 vs 2 game tomorrow, the winner going straight through to Sunday's 2PM final. The loser will play the 9.30AM Sunday semi-final against the winner of the 3 s 4 game, Manitoba (6-3) vs. Alberta (5-4).
Page playoff games start at 2pm Saturday.
For full scores and table go to our Nationals page.
(Here are the notes we posted as we watched the afternoon action.)
Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Alberta can guarantee themselves at a tiebreak with a win this afternoon. Ontario and Northern Ontario need those three teams to lose to force multiple tiebreaks. We'll update here as the games progress.
BC HOST is guaranteed a spot in the 1-2 Page Playoff game. They are playing Manitoba today. If MB beats HOST, they will play each other again in the 1-2 game.
We're watching MB - HOST. MB took 1 in the first when HOST skip Gary Cormack wisely settled on a guard rather than challenge MB's shot stone on the button. MB had a narrow port for an inturn draw to the 4ft, but came up just light and settled for 1. MB 1 - HOST 0 after one.
In the QC NS game, QC had the hammer. With skip stones, QC was sitting one, open in the 4ft, but NS skip Mike Fitzgerald missed two takeouts. QC were unable to capitalize when their draw for a second point came up short. QC 1 - NS 0 after one.
In other games, in a must-win for ON, they stole two against SK in the first end. NO, with the hammer, took their two, against BC. AB blanked the first against NL.
In the second end, BC HOST were in all sorts of trouble when a series of attempted come-arounds instead guarded MB's shot stone. Skip Cormack with his first stone promoted a MB stone into the house and removed his own second shot, leaving MB sitting four.
MB guarded and Cormack, in a testament to clean living, hit a triple runback that ended with a BC stone on the button. "That was horseshit," said the MB coach, as the crowd cheered. BC HOST save the end, taking 1. The score is tied at 1 after two ends.
QC stole 4 against NS to lead 5-0 after two. AB lead NL 1 - 0 after two ends. ON leads SK 4-0 after a measure. BC and NO are tied at 2 after two.
In the third end, MB was sitting one behind a pile of front stones. With BC's last rock, Gary Cormack was tight on the guard and crashed, leaving MB the opportunity to draw down for a second point. The MB stone took a perfect line but was heavy, tapping shot stone out of the rings. MB takes 1. MB 2 - BC HOST 1 after three.
NO are 3-2 up over BC after 3. NS is on the board with a 3 against QC, who lead 5-3. ON lead SK 4-1 after three, and it looks like AB and NL are tied at one after three.
In the 4th end Gary Cormack's attempted takeout of MB's second shot stone is on target but doesn't push MB's stone far enough for HOST to count 2. HOST takes 1, and the score is 2-2 going to the break.
At the break it's BC 5 - NO 3. AB lead NL 4-1. NS stole 2 in the 4th to tie QC 5-5. ON lead SK 5-1.
In the 5th end, MB took one with a hit and stick, and lead BC HOST 3-2.
BC stole one in the 5th to increase their lead over NO 6-3. QC scored three to lead NS 8-5 after five ends. QC chose to hit 3rd rock stone at the edge of the 12 ft instead of drawing into the rings and took another year off their coach's life.
ON lead SK 7-1. AB lead NL 4-1 after five ends. As it stands at the moment with NS and SK both losing, AB are looking good for the fourth playoff place.
In the sixth end, Rich Green who has come up light on his draw attempts in the last couple of ends, made a terrific shot to double two MB stones out and stick.
MB's skip hit the BC stone but rolled out. Cormack for HOST hit the shot stone and rolled to the pin, completely buried to leave HOST lying one with a single centre line guard up front. Sobkowitz played a heavy draw to push HOST's shot stone back and sit for shot. He's in the open, though, leaving Cormack an open hit for two, if he can stick.
Cormack's attempted hit overcurls to hit the centre line guard, running it back onto his own stone. There's a measure and the Manitoba coach is unhappy thay HOST may have fluked another shot... and it's a steal of 1 for MB. That gives them a 4-2 lead after six.
Meanwhile, NO took 1 in the sixth but trail BC 6-4. AB leads NL 4-2 after NL took one in the sixth. QC stole one to go up 9-5 over NS in the sixth. SK took one, but still trials ON 7-2 after six.
In the seventh end, NO shook hands. Final score BC 9 - NO 4. AB over NL 4-2 after six. ON leads SK 7-5 after seven. SK stole 3.
In our game. Cormack make a clutch shot to hit and stick for one. MB still leads, 4-3, and they have the hammer coming home.
NS took one but still trails QC 9-6. QC will have the hammer coming home.
8th end - MB have a draw to the 4ft facing 3. Chris Sobkowicz shot comes up light. BC steals 2 and wins 5-4.
QC, facing 3 with their last stone removed one for a 9-8 victory over NS. Ontario beat SK 9-5. AB beat NL 6-2 in seven.