JEFF STOUGHTON and Kelly Scott are proving to be worthy of their top seeding at the Road to the Roar pre-Olympic curling trials showdown in Prince George, B.C.
Both skips are just a win away from earning one of the precious berths to the Roar of the Rings Olympic trials next month in Edmonton after posting wins in the A-side semifinals on Wednesday night at the CN Centre.
"We're learning out there," said Scott, from Kelowna, B.C. "This format is not like a round robin where you have a few games to get warmed up. We're lucky to be on the winning side at this point and we're one game away. We're digging deep and finding ways and that's the sign of a champion.
"Things are working for us but we're having to work hard for it, too. But they're happening again and they weren't last year. So we're willing to work harder than any team out there if that's what it takes."
Stoughton shot a sizzling 95 per cent Wednesday night in a 4-2 A-side semifinal win over Mike McEwen in a meeting of two Winnipeg rinks. After Stoughton scored one with the hammer in the first end the teams blanked the next four ends before Stoughton stole another point. They traded singles the rest of the way.
"We never got to the point where anyone put a lot of rocks in place," said Stoughton, the Brier runner-up last season.
"The ice was a little bit straighter so no one really got anything buried. So we made a couple of good doubles and played the game we wanted."
He will meet the winner of the match between third-seeded Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., and 10th-seeded Pat Simmons of Davidson, Sask., in the A-side final.
Scott will play Crystal Webster of Calgary in the women's A-side final. Scott scored a pair with last rock in the 10th end to edge Sherry Anderson of Saskatoon -- the 11th seed -- in a back-and-forth match.
Webster, the seventh seed, rallied from a 5-2 deficit after six ends to defeat sixth-seeded Rachel Homan of Ottawa 8-6. Both A-side finals go Thursday. In all four men's and four women's teams will earn trips to Edmonton based on their performance this week.
Four teams seeded in the top five are already on their last legs.
Sherry Middaugh, the second seed on the women's side, headlines the group of squads that lost their first two games and are in the brink of elimination. Other high seeds at risk of missing out on a berth to the main trials are the women's fourth and fifth seeds Michelle Englot and Heather Rankin, respectively, plus the men's fifth seed Kerry Burtnyk.
"We've still got a shot left," said Burtnyk, a two-time Brier champion. "We only have to win three games, and that's not far from impossible. We'll come out (Thursday), try to get a win under our belt, and build some momentum."
-- Canwest News Service
Vying for mixed title
THE Canadian Mixed Curling Championship, meanwhile, starts Saturday in Burlington, Ont., with Selkirk's Dave Boehmer -- supported by Kerri Flett, Kyle Einarson and Tamara Bauknecht -- wearing Manitoba's colours.
Boehmer & Co. will be trying to capture Manitoba's ninth mixed title and second consecutive after Sean Grassie won last year in Nunavut.
The field features 12 teams, with the round-robin wrapping up next Friday and the playoffs starting next weekend.
-- Ed Tait