Middaugh moves into first-place tie at Road to the Roar Pre-Trials

Skip Sherry Middaugh yells to her sweepers. (John Woods/CP)

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Sherry Middaugh moved into a tie for first place at the Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-Trials on Thursday with a 7-5 victory over Krista McCarville at Credit Union Place.

Middaugh, from Coldwater, Ont., was wide on a takeout attempt in the ninth end and McCarville delivered a hit for three for a 5-4 lead. But McCarville was heavy with a draw attempt in the 10th end and Middaugh nailed an open hit for the victory to improve to 3-1.

"I felt like we’re playing well, we’re reading the ice really well," Middaugh said. "It’s important that we’re 3-1, but we still have two really good matches tomorrow."

Middaugh was tied with Kerri Einarson of East St. Paul, Man., for top spot in Pool B of the women’s competition. McCarville, from Thunder Bay, Ont., fell to 2-2.

Einarson posted a 9-4 win over Jacqueline Harrison of Mississauga, Ont., and Briane Meilleur (3-2) outscored fellow Winnipeg skip Darcy Robertson 10-6, who dropped to 1-4.

In Pool A, Calgary’s Nadine Scotland improved to 3-2 after defeating Halifax’s Theresa Breen (3-3) 8-2 in the evening draw. Scotland is tied for first along with Shannon Kleibrink of Okotoks, Alta., and Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont.

Kleibrink got past Tippin 7-4 and Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., downed Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque 8-3 to round out Pool A evening action. Winnipeg’s Darcy Robertson (2-3) scored two in the 10th end for a 9-8 win over Karla Thompson (1-4) of Kamloops, B.C., in Pool B.

Edmonton’s Charley Thomas improved to 4-0 in Pool B and nailed down a tiebreaker berth with a 7-5 evening win over Winnipeg’s Pat Simmons (1-3). Glenn Howard (4-0) of Tiny, Ont., is atop Pool A after beating Jason Gunnlaugson (2-2) of Winnipeg 8-5.

Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher (2-2) drew one in the 10th to beat Greg Balsdon (2-2) of Kingston, Ont., 5-4, Winnipeg’s William Lyburn (3-2) held off Jean-Michel Menard (2-3) of Saint-Romuald, Que., 6-4, Adam Casey’s Regina-based team (2-2) topped John Morris (2-2) of Vernon, B.C., 9-8 and Mark Bice (1-4) of Sarnia, Ont., toppled Halifax’s Jamie Murphy (2-3) 8-6.

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 berth.

The Road to the Roar is the final qualifying event for teams to reach the Roar of the Rings — the Dec. 2-10 Olympic Trials in Ottawa — where Canada’s four-player curling teams for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games will be decided.

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