Team McEwen, Team Dunstone book tickets to Olympic trials with national curling qualifier wins

·3 min read
Team Mike McEwen defeated Team Jason Gunnlaugson 9-8 to improve its record to 5-1 and move on to the Olympic trials, in Ottawa on Saturday. (@CurlingCanada/Twitter - image credit)
Team Mike McEwen defeated Team Jason Gunnlaugson 9-8 to improve its record to 5-1 and move on to the Olympic trials, in Ottawa on Saturday. (@CurlingCanada/Twitter - image credit)

Team Mike McEwen and Team Matt Dunstone both earned berths into the Olympic trials in Saskatoon with victories at the 2021 Trials Direct Entry event on Saturday in Ottawa.

McEwen (5-1) picked up a fifth victory at the event, defeating Team Jason Gunnlaugson 9-8 in 10 ends.

After being down 8-7 by the start of the final end, McEwen pulled through with two points to Gunnlaugson's zero to take the victory.

Dunstone (5-1) on the other hand, beat out Team Glenn Howard 8-6 in 10 ends.

With one end remaining and the score tied 6-6, it was Dunstone who came up big with two points in the final end to seal a ticket to the Olympic trials.

Earlier in the day, Team McEwen topped Team Colton Flasch 9-4 while Team Dunstone beat Team Gunnlaugson 6-5 in an extra end.

Two of the five teams in the men's competition will earn spots at the Trials while the other rinks will fall into the Pre-Trials draw.

Team Brad Gushue, Team John Epping, Team Kevin Koe, Team Brad Jacobs and Team Brendan Bottcher have already qualified for the Saskatoon playdowns.

Team Scheidegger, Team Rocque advances to Olympic trials

Team Kelsey Rocque defeated Team Corryn Brown 8-5 on Saturday evening to earn a berth at the Tim Hortons Curling Trials later this fall in Saskatoon.

Rocque stole two in the seventh and improved to 3-1 at the 2021 Trials Direct Entry women's curling competition while Brown fell to 1-3.

Rocque joined Casey Scheidegger in advancing directly to the Nov. 20-28 Trials. Scheidegger became the first of three women's teams from this week's event to qualify by defeating Brown 6-4 earlier Saturday.

Also in Saturday's evening session, Team Laura Walker (2-2) dropped into third place behind Scheidegger and Rocque with an 8-5 loss to Team Suzanne Birt in the other Draw 5 women's game. Birt improved to 1-3.

The third and final women's trials spot on the line in Ottawa will go to either Walker or Brown. Walker can earn spot with a victory over Brown on Sunday as competition continues at the RA Centre. The lower-seeded Brown needs to defeat Walker twice.

In the earlier Draw 4, Scheidegger played a hit around a corner guard in the 10th end to run Brown out of rocks. Scheidegger's team of vice-skip Cary-Anne McTaggart, Jessie Haughian and lead Kristie Moore exchanged hugs and high-fives after securing the victory.

"We tried not to think about it, but we did do a little scenario check this morning, hence the celebration," Scheidegger said. "We're very excited after guaranteeing our spot."

Team Rocque scored two in the 10th end for a 6-5 win over Team Birt.

The two women's teams that don't make the cut this week will still have a chance to qualify via the Oct. 26-31 Home Hardware Curling Pre-Trials in Liverpool, N.S. A Pre-Trials Direct Entry competition is also running this week in Ottawa.

Team Kerri Einarson, Team Rachel Homan, Team Jennifer Jones and Team Tracy Fleury have already qualified for the Trials.

The Trials winners will represent Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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