Balsdon qualifies for Ontario Tankard playoffs

Greg Balsdon at the 2016 Recharge with Milk Ontario Men's Tankard in Brantford, Ont. (Anil Mungal)

Greg Balsdon slid past Travis Fanset and into the playoffs with a 7-6 win during the final round robin draw of the Recharge with Milk Ontario Men’s Tankard on Friday night in Brantford.

Balsdon, the 2014 provincial champion from Toronto, finished the preliminary round with a 7-3 record to qualify and will now play Mike Harris, also of Toronto, in the page playoff 3 vs. 4 game Saturday.

Harris, the 1998 Nagano Olympics silver medallist, held a bye in the evening draw and ended with a 6-4 record following an 8-0 loss in just four ends to Jake Higgs during the afternoon.


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The page playoff 1 vs. 2 game sees 15-time Ontario champion Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene take on Toronto's John Epping.

Howard defeated Balsdon 9-7 and Mark Bice (3-7) of Sarnia 8-2 to finish the round robin with an unblemished 10-0 record.

Team Howard has relied upon Adam Spencer to fill in for injured vice skip Wayne Middaugh, who broke his leg during a skiing accident last month. Spencer is part of a spare pool of players at the event.

Epping edged Fanset 11-8 earlier Friday in a wild back-and-forth matchup. Fanset, from Ingersoll, scored four to open the game. Epping got a deuce in the second, the rinks exchanged singles in three and four, and Fanset added another point in five to lead 6-3 at the half.

Epping tied it with a three-ender in six and stole one in seven to pull ahead 7-6. Fanset counted two in eight to reclaim the lead 8-7, but Epping completed the comeback with another three-ender in nine and stole one coming home to ice the game.

Team Fanset finished with a 5-5 record.

Team Epping went 8-2 overall ending the evening early with a 9-1 rout in just four ends over Wayne Tuck Jr. (1-9) of Brantford.

Elsewhere, Dayna Deruelle (4-6) of Brampton topped Higgs 7-5. Higgs and his Ottawa-based team finished at 5-5.

Ian Dickie of Newmarket defeated Pat Ferris of Grimsby 9-6. Both teams ended with 3-7 records.

The page playoffs take place Saturday with the 1 vs. 2 game at 2 p.m. ET and the 3 vs. 4 game at 7 p.m. ET (watch both games live on Rogers TV Sports+).


NEW BRUNSWICK

Mike Kennedy and his Moncton team remain perfect at the New Brunswick Pepsi Tankard in Saint John.

Kennedy defeated Rene Comeau of Fredericton 6-4 and James Grattan of Oromocto 7-3 on Friday to maintain the top spot in the round robin with a 6-0 record with just one preliminary draw remaining and a playoff spot secured.

Both Comeau and Grattan are out of contention with 2-4 records.

Rick Perron of Moncton has also earned a playoff berth with a 7-4 win versus Grattan and an 8-2 victory in five ends over Comeau.

Moncton's Terry Odishaw sits in third after beating defending champion Jeremy Mallais (1-5) of Saint John 7-4 and Jason Roach of Saint John 8-3.

Roach defeated Wayne Tallon (1-5) of Fredericton 9-3 earlier Friday and has a 3-3 record. Tallon topped Mallais 9-7 in the evening draw.

The final round robin draw starts Saturday at 9 a.m. AT.


SASKATCHEWAN

Defending champion Steve Laycock of Saskatoon will hold the top spot for the SaskTel Tankard playoffs in Kindersley.

Laycock scored a 5-3 victory over Regina's Randy Bryden during the A qualifier Friday afternoon to advance.

Bryden also fell 8-6 to Scott Bitz of Regina after giving up two in the extra end during the B bracket semifinals in the evening draw.

Bitz faces Josh Heidt of Kerrobert in the B qualifier Saturday at 9 a.m. CT. Heidt earned a 9-8 extra-end victory over Bruce Korte of Saskatoon.