PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Manitoba – The playoffs for the 2013 Prairie Classic slid into shape on Sunday, as the teams surviving on day three of the four-day tournament battled for the six unclaimed quarter-final spots at Portage Curling Club.
Canadian curling icon Glenn Howard, from Ontario, clinched one playoff berth with a 6-5 win over Minnesota’s Team John Shuster in the 5 p.m. draw. Also qualifying out of that draw was Toronto’s Mark Kean, who triumphed in a nailbiter over reigning Brier champion Brad Jacobs.
Already qualified by Sunday were Winnipeg’s Team Mike McEwen and reigning Prairie Classic champions Team Kevin Koe, who both clinched a quarter-final berth by going undefeated through their first four games.
Four final playoff spots are up for grabs in the Prairie Classic, and will be decided in four C-game matches slated for 8:30 on Sunday night. In that draw, Shuster will face Manitoba veteran Jeff Stoughton and his rink, and the winner of that game will go on to face McEwen in the quarter-final on Monday.
Jacobs also gets one last chance to squeak into the playoffs, but it won’t be easy, as he will face Swedish world champion Niklas Edin on Sunday night for one of the four remaining playoff berths.
Also at 8:30 p.m., Saskatchewan’s Brock Virtue and Swedish skip Oskar Eriksson will fight for the right to face Kean in the quarter-finals, while Winnipeg’s own Team Sean Grassie will get a chance to upset 2010 Olympic gold medalist John Morris on his quest for the playoff race.
The Prairie Classic will wrap up on Monday , with the final game slated for 6 p.m. and to be broadcast live on Shaw TV.