Tippin defeats Rocque 5-4 at curling pre-trials

Julie Tippin shoots a stone during the third draw of the Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge in Regina Sask., on Sept. 6, 2017. (Anil Mungal)

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Julie Tippin recorded steals in three consecutive ends in a 5-4 extra-end win over Kelsey Rocque in Thursday’s early draw at the Road to the Roar Olympic curling pre-trials.

Rocque’s Edmonton foursome stole two in the seventh end to take a 4-1 lead, but Tippin responded with a point in the eighth, and followed with steals of one in the next three ends.

Tippin, from Woodstock, Ont., improved to 3-1 while Rocque fell to 2-2.

Elsewhere, former Olympian Shannon Kleibrink of Okotoks, Alta., evened her record at 2-2 with a 7-5 win over Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont. Fleury fell to 1-3.

In early men’s action, Greg Balsdon downed Dayna Deruelle 10-7 and William Lyburn edged Pat Simmons 8-7.

Balsdon, from Kingston, Ont., improved to 2-1 and Winnipeg’s Lyburn evened his record at 2-2. Deruelle, from Brampton, Ont., fell to 1-3, while Simmons, a former Brier champion curling out of Winnipeg, fell to 1-2.

The top three teams from each pool will advance to the playoffs beginning on Saturday, with the first- and second-place teams crossing over to meet each other in the first round of the A-side. The winners will then meet for the first Roar of the Rings berth.

The first-round losers will drop to meet the third-place teams in each pool in the first round of the B-side. The winners of the two games will then meet, with the winner taking on the A-side final loser for the second Roar of the Rings berth.

The event is the final qualifying event for teams to reach the Roar of the Rings, Dec. 2-10 in Ottawa, where Canada’s four-player curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be decided.