OLDS, Alta. — The playoff picture is finally set in the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup as Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., is into the quarterfinals.
Einarson edged South Korea’s Team Eun-Jung Kim 7-4 in a tiebreaker Saturday afternoon to grab the last playoff spot for the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season finale at the Olds Sportsplex.
Team Einarson will now face Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan while Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., will play South Korea’s Team Eun-Ji Gim in the other women’s quarterfinal matchup.
Einarson, Kim, Homan, Fleury and Gim all finished pool play with 3-2 records. Homan, Fleury and Gim avoided the tiebreaker game based on draw-to-the-button shootout scores.
Sweden’s Team Hasselborg (5-0) and Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni (4-1) earned the byes to the semifinals.
Team Niklas Edin (4-1) of Sweden and Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe (4-1) are through to the final four on the men’s side. Brad Jacobs (4-1) and his team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., were the odd men out for the byes based on draw-to-the-button shootout scores and take on Winnipeg’s Team Jason Gunnlaugson (3-2) in the quarterfinals.
Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher and Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., both went 3-2 through pool play and meet in the second men’s quarterfinal game.
It looked like Team Kim had control of the tiebreaker game early after securing the hammer to start and a great cross-house double from third Kyeong-Ae Kim set the table for their skip to score a deuce in the first frame. Einarson hit the guard with her first skip stone in the second, allowing Kim to guard her shot rock and force the three-time reigning Canadian champion to draw for just a single.
However, Kim misfired both of her skip shots in the fourth end and Einarson capitalized to draw for three critical points and take over the game.
Einarson pirated a point in the fifth end to extend her lead to 5-3 as Kim’s last hooked onto the guard and a measurement on the rocks around the button resulted in a steal.
After an Einarson double, Kim could only count a single in the sixth as she was forced to draw against two counters.
Einarson made a great double on her first skip stone in the seventh end and already had two points in the bank but wasn’t able to draw in a third one. Still, the deuce gave Einarson a 7-4 advantage coming home, and she ran Kim out of rocks in the final frame.
The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday evening with both finals set for Sunday.
Tickets are available at the Olds Sportsplex box office and online at champions.goigniter.com.
The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup is the fourth and final Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the 2021-22 season featuring 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams who have won top tour titles in order to qualify. … A combined $210,000 prize purse is up for grabs with the winning teams earning $25,000 plus berths to next year’s KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup. … The 2022-23 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling campaign kicks off with the Boost National, Oct. 4-9, at Memorial Gardens in North Bay, Ont. Full-event passes are now available for all six events for next season, visit thegrandslamofcurling.com/tickets for more information.