|All three Canadian teams have booked their playoff berths at the World Seniors and Mixed DoublesCurling Championships in Sochi, Russia.
Lois Fowler’s team from Brandon, Man., was the last to do so on Thursday at the Iceberg Skating Palace, wrapping up the round robin with a 12-3 win over Slovakia to finish in second place in Group B and set up a quarter-final match with Switzerland’s Susan Limena (4-2, third in Group A) on Friday at 7 a.m. ET.
Rebounding from a loss to the U.S. on Wednesday, Fowler and her team of third Maureen Bonar, second Cathy Gauthier, lead Allyson Stewart, with team coach Brian Fowler and national coach Bill Tschirhart went straight to offence, scoring four points in the first end. A steal of four in the fifth end gave the Canadians a 12-2 lead, and Slovakia, skipped by Margita Matuskovicova, could only manage one more point before conceding after six.
With the win, the Canadian women finish in second place in their pool, behind the U.S. (5-0, seeded directly to the semifinal.
“We’re in good shape,” said Fowler after the win. “It would have been nice to be 5-0 but we just rolled a smidgen too far in that game against the U.S. We’re back in the swing of things and ready for playoffs.
“Before we came, our goal was to make playoffs, No. 1, and we’ve had good games and good practices in the evening,” she added. “The ice has been a challenge but we seem to be picking up on it OK.”
Sweden’s Gunilla Arfwidsson Edlund (5-1) finished on top of Group A to clinch a semifinal berth, while the Group A second-place team, Finland’s Kirsti Kauste (4-2), will await the winner of a tiebreaker between England’s Judith Dixon and Italy’s Fiona Grace Simpson, who tied for third place in Group B with 2-3 records.
In the final game in the men’s round robin, Alan O’Leary and his Halifax team of third Andrew Dauphinee, second Danny Christianson, lead Harold McCarthy and coach Tschirhart took the lead over Italy’s Danilo Capriolo after three ends and never looked back, earning a 7-2 win to remain undefeated and cement their first-place position in Group A heading into the playoffs.
The Canadians finished the round robin with a 7-0 record to book a berth in the final eight. (The playoff formats are different for the men and women due to the men having 24 teams over three pools while the women had 13 teams in two pools).
Playoffs begin on Friday with tiebreakers (2 a.m. ET) and qualification games (7 a.m. ET). Quarter-finals begin at 2 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, the Canadian pairing of Kalynn Park and Charley Thomas finished round-robin play in the World Mixed Doubles on a winning note on Thursday at the Ice Cube Curling Centre to head into the quarter-finals on a high note.
The Calgary duo, backed by coach Jim Waite, finished with a 12-3 win over South Korea’s Lee Hyain and John-Chul Beak. Leading 7-2 at the break, the Canadians put the game away with a steal of four in the final end when Beak’s draw came up short of the four-foot.
It was another strong performance from the Canadians, who lost only one game during the round robin, finishing with an 8-1 record.
“Charley’s playing really well so that’s helping, and I seemed to get my first rock in place a little bit better this game,” said Park after the game. “That always plays in well with our strategy, so that really helps if I make that first shot. And we’re just getting the draw weight as soon as possible so that always helps.”
Park said she and Thomas will prepare for Friday’s quarter-finals by reviewing a few games online, then head to the rink.
“We’re going to come practise at 11 a.m. to keep ourselves fresh and feeling good and then go into the quarter-finals really confident,” she said. “We don’t have a preference (of opponent). They’re all good. We’re going to be expecting 100 per cent from anyone we play, so we’ve just got to focus on ourselves and hope for the best.”
On Friday, playoffs get underway with tie-breakers at 1 a.m. ET, qualification games (if necessary) at 8:30 a.m. ET, and quarterfinals at 1 p.m. ET.
Semifinals (3:30 a.m. ET) and medal games will take place on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
Selected playoff games from the World Mixed Doubles will be streamed live on the event website,
The World Mixed Doubles and World Seniors roundups will be posted in French as soon as possible atwww.curling.ca/?lang=fr
For live scores and standings from the World Seniors Championship, go to:wscc2015.curlingevents.com/, and for the same from the World Mixed Doubles Championship, go towmdcc2015.curlingevents.com/.