Val Sweeting in Page playoff at Road to the Roar
Edmonton skip faces Calgary's Cheryl Bernard
Edmonton's Val Sweeting is two wins away from a trip to Winnipeg to play in Canada's Road of the Rings in December.
Sweeting claimed a berth in the Page playoffs on Friday, beating Tracy Horgan of Sudbury, Ont., 5-3 in one of a pair of women's C-Event finals at the Olympic curling pre-trials.
"It feels great," said Sweeting, who will face Calgary's Cheryl Bernard on Saturday. "We played really well today and we want to keep it up tomorrow and put ourselves in a position today. That's what we did today. The team played really well, so to come out on top is confidence-boosting for sure."
On Friday night, Sweeting had a tight game going with Horgan, who represented Ontario at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, through six ends.
But with Horgan holding a slim 2-1 lead, Sweeting was able to make a clutch hit to score a game-changing three, and never looked back, although she needed to make a delicate tap with her final rock of the 10th end to nail down the win.
Bernard, meanwhile, prevailed 10-8 in an extra end over Cathy Auld of Mississauga, Ont., in a topsy-turvy affair that saw Bernard race to a 5-2 lead through four ends, then fall behind 8-6 through nine. But Bernard made a spectacular triple takeout to score a game-tying deuce in the 10th, and then stole the winning pair in 11 when Auld was wide on her game-winning draw to bite the button.
The winner of the Sweeting-Bernard game will move into Sunday's qualifying game for the Roar of the Rings Canadian curling trials in Winnipeg — the event that will decide Canada's teams for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
"We were definitely here to win," said Sweeting. "We're in a position to do that, so we have definitely met our expectations."
The first women's Trials qualifier will be decided Saturday night between A-side winner Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C., and B-Event winner Renee Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie, Alta.
The loser of that game will play the Sweeting-Bernard winner.
In men's play, reigning Brier champ Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., ran his win streak to four games on Friday night with a 9-6 win over Saskatoon's Steve Laycock in the B-side final.
That sets up a tantalizing Page playoff A-B game Saturday against A-side winner John Morris and his Kelowna/Vernon, B.C., team.
Jacobs took control of his game Friday night by scoring three in the fifth end, and then took advantage of a Laycock miscue in the ninth to score a deuce out of thin air.
"Mission accomplished," said Jacobs. "We're in that A-B game, we have two shots to go to the Trials. We really came out and played well today, and we got a few breaks honestly. But sometimes you need those breaks to get the wins, and we'll take it."
In C-side play, meanwhile, Jake Higgs of Glencoe, Ont., stole a big deuce in the eighth end — the turning point in an 8-7 win over Joe Frans of Bradford, Ont. Higgs advanced to a C-side semifinal clash with 2006 Olympic gold-medallist Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., while Frans was eliminated with the loss.