KITCHENER, Ont. - Kelly Scott became the first curler to advance to the Page playoffs of the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar Olympic pre-trial tournament with an 8-5 win over Renee Sonnenberg in the women's A-event final on Thursday.
Scott and her teammates moved one step closer to locking down one of the final four spots at next month's Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Olympic trials, where eight men's and eight women's teams will be vying for the chance to represent Canada at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The Kelowna, B.C., skip broke a close game open in the seventh end. Sonnenberg, from Grande Praire, Alta., had a chance for a double takeout with two Scott stones in the rings, but her rock barely ticked shot stone and sailed through the house, leaving Scott with a steal of two and a 6-3 lead.
Scott used the hitting power of teammates Sasha Carter and Jeanna Schraeder to keep the house clean from then on, blanking the ninth and hitting out the 10th for the win.
"Any time you can steal late in the game, especially a deuce, that does definitely give you an edge, and advantage," said Scott. "It was not an easy sheet to play finesse shots on, so we definitely got the easier shot selection after we jumped ahead three points. But they did a good job of hanging in there and making us execute those peels or they could have been right back in it."
"Goal number one was to get through to that qualifying round," added Scott about clinching a playoff spot. "You want to be in that A versus B game, but that sometimes doesn't pan out. We couldn't have scripted a better start to this whole event for ourselves."
Scott will face either Sonnenberg again or Cathy Auld of Mississauga, Ont., in the Page playoff. Sonnenberg recovered with a 7-6 win over Tracy Horgan in the evening draw. She'll next face Auld, who edged Val Sweeting 7-6.
Elsewhere, both 2010 silver-medallist Calgary's Cheryl Bernard and Edmonton's Laura Crocker both staved off elimination with crucial C-Event victories.
Bernard got off to a fast start with three in the second end and a deuce in the fourth en route to an 11-5 triumph over Winnipeg's Barb Spencer. Crocker, meanwhile, stole five in the seventh end to beat Krista McCarville 10-3.
On the men's side, John Morris's rink from Kelowna and Vernon, B.C., earned a spot in the Page playoff with an 8-3 win over Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., in the A-event final.
It was battle of skips who have claimed the last two Olympic gold medals. Gushue won in 2006 at Turin, Italy, throwing last rocks for a team skipped by Russ Howard, while Morris won in 2010 at Vancouver throwing third rocks for Kevin Martin.
Morris will play the B-event winner Saturday, with the winner advancing directly to the Roar of the Rings. The loser of that game will play the winner of a contest between the two C-Event winners on Sunday for the other Trials berth.
Gushue will be back on the ice Friday against reigning Brier champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in a B-event semifinal.