CHESTERMERE, Alta. — Laura Walker and her Edmonton-based team have flipped the script on their Boost National run.
After an 0-2 start to fall into the C brackets of the triple knockout stage, Team Walker have turned the tables on the brink of elimination and picked up their second consecutive win clipping Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., 6-5 Friday morning at Chestermere Recreation Centre.
“It feels really good,” skip Laura Walker said. “We obviously had a slow start, so to play two good games back-to-back, kind of some grindy games. We got down early yesterday and kind of let them get back into this one today, so to win from both positions gives us confidence moving forward.”
Team Walker had a tight turnaround ousting Irene Schori’s Swiss squad 9-3 Thursday evening and need one more victory in the evening C-qualifiers to advance to the playoffs.
“It was an early morning, but now we’ve got a long break to rest and recoup and go get it tonight,” said Walker, who is originally from Scarborough, Ont.
Walker won the draw-to-the-button to secure the hammer to start against the two-time reigning Players’ champion Einarson and bookended the match by following the same path with her last rock in the eighth end, although it required a nervous measurement to secure the victory. It was a complete team shot with Walker giving credit to vice skip Kate Cameron on the line call and sweepers Taylor McDonald and Nadine Scotland.
“We actually didn’t think the ice had really changed too much from my draw to the button, which was to my advantage,” Walker said. “I was just able to throw a shot I was comfortable with and knew that if I threw it close the girls would judge it perfectly. The measure, you’re always shaking a little bit but I was pretty confident it was us. Just complete kudos to my team for managing that shot so well.”
Alina Kovaleva and her Russia rink are also staying afloat in the C-side with a 2-2 record taking a 6-3 set over Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa.
Winnipeg’s Team Mike McEwen are hanging tough in the men’s C brackets scoring their second straight victory with a 4-3 extra end victory to bounce defending champions Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 4-3.
Team Yannick Schwaller of Switzerland scored a single in the eighth end to edge Winnipeg’s Team Jason Gunnlaugson 7-6 and also reach the C-qualifiers.
TRIPLE KNOCKOUT EXPLAINED
The triple knockout consists of three brackets: A, B and C. Teams must win three games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Each loss drops a team to a lower bracket until they lose three games and are out of the tournament. Two A teams (3-0 records), three B teams (3-1 records) and three C teams (3-2 records) advance to the quarterfinals.
NO TICK ZONE
Teams cannot tick guards off of the centre line while the five-rock, free guard zone is in effect during the eighth and extra ends.
The Boost National is the second of five events on the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling schedule and features 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world with a combined $300,000 prize purse. … The winning teams earning $33,000 plus spots in the season-ending KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup. … Triple knockout play runs through to Saturday morning. The quarterfinals and semifinals are also Saturday with both finals set for Sunday. … Tickets are available at boost.goigniter.com.