There are still three days worth of preliminary-round games remaining in curling at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., but there is a chance Newfoundland and Labrador’s men’s team could exit today having already clinched a playoff berth at the competition.
The St. John’s-based rink of skip Nathan Young (Torbay) and including Ben Stringer (C.B.S.), Nathan Locke (C.B.S.) and Sam Follett (Paradise) is in second place in the 11-team event with a 5-1 record. Young and his teammates have just one game today, against the Northwest Territories (1:30 p.m. NT), but a win there, combined with favourable results elsewhere, could guarantee that the N.L. team will advance to the medal round.
The top six finishers from preliminary play move on to the playoffs, although given their showing over the first half of the week, the Newfoundlanders have to be eyeing a top-two finish. The first- and second-place teams earn byes directly to the semifinal round.
The Young rink lost its first game of the Winter Games competition Tuesday nigh in a matchup of previously unbeaten teams. Ontario (6-0) defeated N.L. 4-3, scoring the winning point with the hammer in the final end.
Earlier in the day, Young and his teammates doubled Saskatchewan 10-5, completing a Prairie sweep for the Newfoundlanders, who had beaten Manitoba and Alberta earlier in the competition.
Besides its game against winless NWT today, the N.L. team faces British Columbia and Quebec on Thursday before finishing up Friday versus Nova Scotia.
In the female curling competition at the Games, Newfoundland is represented by the Corner Brook-based team of skip Mackenzie Mitchell, Sara.
The N.L. women lost twice Tuesday, 10-1 to Ontario and 4-3 to Saskatchewan. The latter had to be an especially tough setback given that Saskatchewan scored the winning point on a steal in the final end/
Despite the two losses, Mitchell and her teammates, who have the same remaining schedule as their Newfoundland male counterparts, are still in the mix for a playoff spot, especially with three of their four upcoming games against teams just ahead of them in the standings.