Here’s a quick look at the final day of the round robin with potential playoff and tiebreaker outcomes for the 2021 Canadian Curling Trials.
In the men’s competition, Brad Gushue is assured of a play-off spot and Brad Jacobs is in at least a tie-breaker. Team Gushue can sleep in Friday morning ahead of their evening game against Mike McEwen. A win means a bye into the finals including hammer and first choice of stones. If McEwen loses to Jacobs in the morning, who then drops their evening game to Horgan, Gushue receives the bye to the final regardless of the outcome from his game against McEwen. I’d expect Gushue to secure that number one seed over 70% of the time.
If Team Jacobs wins both games and McEwen upsets Gushue, the Jacobs crew secure first place and the bye into the final.
If either Kevin Koe or McEwen win in the morning draw, or both lose and John Epping wins his early game, all teams with four losses are eliminated. I calculate the chances of this outcome at about 87%.
Koe could win both games and see McEwen also defeat the two Brads. That would create a three or four-way tie with Gushue, Koe, McEwen and Jacobs (should he beat Horgan) at 6-2. Chances are about 7%.
Should McEwen beat Jacobs but lose to Gushue, he will need help from a Koe loss to either Epping or Gunnlaugson or a Horgan win against Jacobs in order to force a tiebreaker. They can also sneak in should they lose to Jacobs but beat Gushue and see Koe drop one or more of his two games.
Two wins for Epping gives him his best chance to fight on the weekend. If they lose their first game, they need a Koe loss to Gunnlaugson and Gushue win over McEwen to keep playoff hopes alive. It would be interesting to see a win against Bottcher in the morning give them a 4-3 record as it would eliminate a chance for the four-loss teams, as they battle Koe in the evening draw. In other words, the Epping foursome (five if you count Glenn Howard) can make a tiebreaker (with four losses) by losing their first game and winning the second—if a number of other teams provide some help—but cannot get in if they win their first and lose their second.
Four losses to reach a tiebreaker has a small chance—just under 8% according to my calculations.
Most observers would expect Koe to win one or both games while McEwen likely falls short in his attempt to defeat two Brads in one day. His record against the Brads is 2-9 the past four seasons but 51-42 overall as a skip. It’s felt like Gushue versus Jacobs all week but I give McEwen and Koe a slight chance to crash their party on Sunday.
With only one round robin game remaining the women’s side is much clearer. Tracy Fleury is already into the final game and has a warmup against Jennifer Jones to stay loose. If Kerri Einarson wins then all messes are cleaned up and their fingers are crossed that Jones loses to Fleury so they secure hammer in the semifinal. If Einarson should lose to Kelsey Rocque (who is 2-5), Krista McCarville is in the tiebreaker and could be joined by Casey Scheidegger and/or Laura Walker, should they win their respective matches. Coolbet has a clear three-team playoff at 80% which gives each team the following chance of reaching a tiebreaker: McCarville 20%, Scheidegger 9% and Walker 16%.
Jennifer Jones is at 5-2 and securely in the semifinal game, despite a cumulative shooting of 76% (sixth among skips). This result is largely skewed by her 53% game against Einarson on Tuesday night. They’ve appeared beatable with some inexplicable misses but also timely shotmaking, and as usual are in the mix at the end of the week.
Team Einarson has been improving through the week and are likely still kicking themselves for the collapse against Harrison. I’d expect them to win their afternoon game and land in a rematch against Jones in the semifinal and possibly surpass that record-breaking 10-9 score from Tuesday night.
Fleury looks like a strong frontrunner and though Tracy doesn’t have much big game experience i.e. nothing on this scale, staying in the moment and in the zone they’ve been on for the past few months could carry them through to represent Canada in Beijing next February.