Wrana, Homan and Hasselborg make the cut for Players’ Championship playoffs
TORONTO — Isabella Wranå lost her balance and her broom but not the C-qualifier as her Swedish squad punched a playoff ticket in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship.
Team Wranå topped Team Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., 7-2 Friday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre to advance to the women’s quarterfinals.
Wranå had a bit of a wobble while sliding out of the hack during her first skip stone of the fourth end and then lost control of her brush, but she made the shot that set up a key score of two points that broke a 2-2 tie and gave her club an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.
“I was going to jump off the hack but my foot went into my broom because I have the broom on the ice,” Wranå explained. “It just flew away but luckily I had some sort of balance, like the double wasn’t made but it was so good that I managed to hit the right stone and stay in the house. That helped us a lot.”
McCarville, who gave up back-to-back steals in the first couple of ends, continued to struggle conceding additional single points in the fifth, sixth and seventh and opted to ice the game early.
Team Wranå almost missed the event entirely but accepted an invitation as the No. 16 seed after Team EunJung Kim of South Korea had to drop out due to multiple members of the team testing positive for COVID-19.
Wranå advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series at the Boost National in November and now has a new goal in mind here at the Princess Auto Players’ Championship by taking the next step to reach the semifinals.
“It feels really good,” Wranå said. “We had the goal coming in here, qualifying for the playoffs, and we set new goals here to achieve something we’ve never done before, so that would be awesome to get to the semifinals.”
“We managed to figure out the ice much better the last couple of games than we did earlier,” she added. “I think that was the key and just get everyone in shape for the late games.”
Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan and Team Anna Hasselborg of Sweden also qualified through the C-side of the triple knockout preliminary stage.
Homan held off Team Mackenzie Zacharias of Altona, Man., 8-6 and Hasselborg ousted Germany’s Team Daniela Jentsch 5-4.
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.
Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., and Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni made it through the A-side Thursday while Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., Scotland’s Team Eve Muirhead and Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa were victorious in the B-qualifiers earlier Friday.
The women’s quarterfinals see Fleury vs. Wranå, Einarson vs. Fujisawa, Tirinzoni vs. Homan and Muirhead vs. Hasselborg.
Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat and Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin went 3-0 through the men’s A brackets Thursday with Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher and Winnipeg’s Team Jason Gunnlaugson making it through the B brackets Friday with 3-1 records.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with the men’s C-qualifiers Saturday at 8:30 a.m. ET / 5:30 a.m. PT. Broadcast coverage resumes with the women’s quarterfinals at 12 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Sportsnet East, Ontario, Pacific and Sportsnet ONE with online streaming available at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).
Tickets are available at the box office and online at thegrandslamofcurling.com/tickets.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship is the third event of the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world with a combined $350,000 prize purse. Winning teams earn $35,000. … The Pinty’s Cup will also be awarded to the season champions following the conclusion of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship. Winners of the Pinty’s Cup receive $50,000 bonuses. … The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with both finals set for Sunday.