Team Ackland earns first win in GSOC series at Co-op Canadian Open
CAMROSE, Alta. — Winnipeg’s Team Abby Ackland secured their first-ever win in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling during Draw 6 Wednesday in the Co-op Canadian Open.
Skip Meghan Walter made a high-pressure tap back with the last rock of the extra end to score a 5-4 victory over Team Isabelle Ladouceur from Dundas, Ont.
Team Ackland, who are making their series debut this week, improved to a 1-1 record to stay in the B-side of the triple knockout preliminary round.
“It feels amazing,” Walter said. “We’ve always just watched the events on TV and have always wished we could play in these. Now that we’ve made it and proved to ourselves we can be here, getting this first win under our belt has gained us some confidence for going on throughout the week.”
As the only game remaining on the sheet, all eyes were on Walter as she pulled off the winning shot.
“You’ve just got to kind of put your blinders on, kind of forget about the crowd around you as they’re staring,” she said. “It feels good to have a little bit of pressure on you making that last one.”
It was a tight back-and-forth matchup as the teams traded singles throughout and Ladouceur pulled off a double takeout in the eighth end to force OT.
“We knew it was going to be a tight one,” she said. “We just thought just keeping it patient and not giving up on it. I know we wanted a deuce and so did they but this swapping of the ones worked out in our favour and that’s all we can ask for.”
Walter and Ackland made the back-end switch not too long ago and it’s already paid off as they captured the DEKALB Superspiel tour title last month in Morris, Man.
“It’s great,” Walter said. “We made the change about a month or two ago and since then we’ve been jiving pretty well, so we’ll keep that going through the rest of the week.”
Team Ladouceur, also first-timers in the Grand Slams, dropped to 0-2 and into the last-chance C brackets. Teams must win three games before they lose three in order to advance to the playoffs.
Elsewhere in Draw 6, Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones fended off Italy’s Team Stefania Constantini 6-5.
Jones (1-1) stole three points in the sixth end to build a 6-2 lead. Constantini, who won Olympic gold in mixed doubles last year, replied with a deuce in the seventh to cut the deficit in half and Jones conceded a point in the eighth to hang on.
Team Constantini fell into the C-side at 0-2.
Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli climbed to a 2-0 record and into the A-finals with a commanding 7-1 win over Winnipeg’s Team Kaitlyn Lawes during an all-Manitoba matchup. Einarson counted three in the second, stole back-to-back singles in the third and fourth then swiped two more in the fifth for early handshakes.
Sweden’s Team Isabella Wranå (2-0) also moved onto the A-finals with a 7-6 victory over South Korea’s Team Eun-Ji Kim.
Lawes and Kim, both at 1-1, dropped into the B brackets.
Triple knockout action continues with Draw 7 at 6 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. local time. Single draw tickets plus full-event, weekend and daily passes are available at the Encana Arena box office and online at camrosegsoc.goigniter.com.
NOTES: The Co-op Canadian Open is the fourth event of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season with 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world at Encana Arena. … Broadcast coverage of the Co-op Canadian Open begins Thursday at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and streaming online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) or Yare (international). … Triple knockout action runs through to Saturday morning. The quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday afternoon followed by the semifinals in the evening. Both finals are set for Sunday.