Playoff spots up for grabs going into final draws at mixed doubles curling championship

LEDUC, Alta. — Playoff spots are still very much up for grabs as the mixed doubles nationals round-robin wind down.

All teams competing have two games remaining. Going into Friday evening’s play there are three undefeated teams remaining, including the duos of Laura Crock and Kirk Muyres, Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott, as well as the defending champions Reid Carruthers and Joanne Courtney.

They each have perfect 5-0 records going into the remaining two draws. 

There are 32 teams from across Canada competing in the national event — four pools of eight teams each. The top four teams in each pool automatically advance to the quarter-finals on Saturday evening, with the next best eight records advancing to the Round of 12 to be played Saturday afternoon. 

Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing are fighting for their playoff lives with a 3-2 record in Pool C. After starting 1-2, Jones and Laing have won two games in a row and are going to need win out to guarantee a spot.

“We struggled with the ice during the first couple of days but we’ve been playing better now. Hopefully we can get on a roll here,” Jones said Friday. “I feel like all tough teams are in our pool. It’s a great field. Everyone is playing great.”

Laing is soaking up every moment on the ice playing alongside his wife. He’s fresh back from the Olympic experience in Pyeongchang, where his team did not win a medal, while Jones won another world title less than a week ago. The two have been going through all the emotions over the last few weeks. 

“A lot of ups and downs and that seems to be the way the four years have gone really,” Laing said. “Ultimate highs and lows. Obviously the Olympics were a letdown we won’t soon forget. It’s just something we’ll have to get over.”

Battle for playoff spots in pool play

In Pool A, Crocker and Muyres lead the way with a 5-0 record going into the remaining draws. The father-daughter duo of Robert and Emilie Desjardins are alone in second with a 4-1 record. There’s a logjam of teams behind them.

In Pool B, Sahaidak and Lott are cruising along with a 5-0 record. Closely behind them are the 4-1 team of Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson.

“We’re in a really good spot and if we can win a couple more games it’s where we want to be,” Carey said. 

Pool C is going to be a battle as some of the big names in the game battle it out on Friday. Three teams are tied at 4-1 with Jones and Laing right behind. 

In Pool D, Courtney and Carruthers are in first at 5-0. They won the mixed doubles national title last year and captured silver at the world championships, where Canada has never won gold.

Janet and Hugh Murphy are 4-1 right behind Courtney and Carruthers, with three other teams sitting behind them with a 3-2 record. One of those 3-2 teams is the duo of Cathy Overton-Clapham and Matt Dunstone. 

“We have a couple big games left,” Dustone said. “We basically have to win out from here on.”

The championship game goes Sunday afternoon with the winner representing Canada at the world championship in Sweden late April. 

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