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This article was published 12/11/2017 (221 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There are no late additions from Manitoba to the Roar of the Rings Canadian Olympic curling trials in Ottawa next month.
All seven local teams that competed in Summerside, P.E.I., at the national men’s and women’s pre-trials event came up short in their quest to join the field.
Briane Meilleur’s team from Winnipeg was the last to go.
The Fort Rouge foursome couldn’t take advantage of a second chance to qualify for the trials, suffering an 8-3 loss to Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont., in the women’s B final Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, Meilleur fell 7-5 to Krista McCarville’s crew from Thunder Bay, Ont., in the A final.
"We have a lot of great teams from Manitoba and I think we’re probably all a little shocked that none of us made it through. Sometimes, it’s just not your week and it doesn’t work out how you thought it would," Meilleur said, speaking by phone.
The Winnipeg skip said her team got better as the weeklong event unfolded, but lost its mojo at the most inopportune time.
"We came here not having a lot of high expectations. We knew we could do it, but we hadn’t had such a great year thus far," Meilleur said. "We just wanted to put a good week together and see what happens and that’s exactly what we did. So, we have to be proud of that — but it’s just too bad that we came out flat at the wrong time."
Meilleur, with third Breanna Knapp, second Janelle Vachon and lead Sarah Neufeld, had a 5-2 record at the pre-trials — including an earlier playoff victory over Tippin in the A semifinal — before the back-to-back defeats.
With the additions of McCarville and Tippin, the nine-team women’s field is finalized for the trials, Dec. 2-10, to determine Canada’s squads for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, the 2014 Olympic gold medallist, and Michelle Englot of Winnipeg are in, along with former Winnipeggers Chelsea Carey, now of Calgary, and Allison Flaxey, now of Caledon, Ont. Rachel Homan of Ottawa, Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., and Val Sweeting of Edmonton will also battle for the right to represent Canada.
On Sunday, Meilleur gave up two in the first end and then cut the deficit in half with a single in the second. Tippin wiggled out of a couple of thorny situations, scoring a deuce in the third end and then stealing a single in the fourth after a miss by Meilleur.
Down 5-1 playing the fifth, Meilleur attempted a difficult but achievable double-takeout with her final throw for a possible three count. But she caught too much of the top Tippin shot stone and it jammed, allowing another steal of two.
"I had to hit about two-thirds of it and it (curled) a lot more than I was expecting. In that spot, everything had been running really straight. I just mis-iced myself, hit it a little too thick and they’re stealing two," she said. "There were a lot of tricky shots, but definitely makeable ones. I just had to make a few more and maybe the game would have been different."
Kerri Einarson of East St. Paul and Shannon Birchard of St. Vital lost in the tiebreakers Saturday, while Darcy Robertson of Assiniboine Memorial did not advance past round-robin play.
In men’s play, John Morris and his Vernon, B.C., teammates posted a 4-3 triumph over Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton in the A final early Sunday to punch their ticket to the trials. Bottcher rebounded in impressive fashion, knocking off Glenn Howard of Etobicoke, Ont., 9-5 in the evening to win the second trials berth.
Jason Gunnlaugson and William Lyburn, both of the Granite in Winnipeg, were eliminated in the tiebreakers, while Pat Simmons, also of the Granite, didn’t get past the round robin.
Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers and Mike McEwen, Kevin Koe of Calgary, John Epping of Toronto, reigning Canadian men’s champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., 2014 gold medallist Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Steve Laycock of Saskatoon will curl in the trials.
Assistant sports editor
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).
Updated on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 7:40 AM CST: Writethru
7:49 AM: Adds John Epping.
8:22 AM: Edited