McDonald, Bice aiming for finals

Steve Green, Free Press Sports Reporter

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

They met in the first game at the Ontario junior men's curling championship and at this rate, Mark Bice and Scott McDonald could very well meet in the last. Both won twice yesterday at Peterborough to stand at 5-0 and 4-1, respectively, heading into today's final two round-robin draws and a possible meeting in tomorrow's final.

In last night's fifth draw, Bice and his Sarnia rink of Codey Maus, Rob Pruliere and Jeff Wilson stole three in the third against Jeff Grant of Port Carling and went on to a 9-6 win, securing no worse than a tiebreaker berth.

McDonald and his Highland rink of Micky Lizmore, Brodie Tarvit and Michael McDonald kept pace with a 9-2 win over Derek Whitehill of Owen Sound Blue Water, stealing four in the seventh to end the game.

In the fourth draw yesterday afternoon, Bice stole singles in the third, sixth, seventh and eighth ends to beat Whitehill 7-2, while McDonald scored two in the first and added threes in the fifth and eighth ends to beat Grant 8-3.

On the junior women's side, Hollie Nicol and her Sarnia rink of Jennifer Scott, Jackie Masongsong and Courtney Davies lost twice to sit in a three-way tie for third at 3-3.

Nicol plays Leslie McCormack of North Halton in the final draw today and a win will clinch at least a tiebreaker berth.

In the sixth draw last night, Laura Payne of Prescott scored two in the sixth and stole two in the seventh to beat Nicol 6-4.

In the morning's fifth draw, Nicol gave up deuces in the fifth and seventh ends to 2003 champion Stephanie Gray of Palmerston, who added a steal of one in the eighth for a 6-4 win.

Hearts regionals

The two regional playdowns leading to the provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts are underway this weekend in Norwich (West) and Quinte (East).

The 16-rink, double-knockout events will both send two teams to the Ontario Hearts championship Jan. 24-30 at Rideau, to be joined by two rinks from next week's Challenge Round at Thornhill Bayview and four Northern Ontario squads.

At Norwich, the field includes three-time champion and current titleholder Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater; Jo-Ann Rizzo of Brant, who won the Canada Cup East title last December, beating Middaugh in the final, and earned a berth in the Olympic trials in December in Halifax; and three-time Ontario senior champion and 2003 Hearts champion Ann Dunn of Galt.

In terms of local content, Kerry Lackie of London plays third for Stacey Brandwood

of Hamilton Glendale, Kim Tuck of Ilderton and Sara Gatchell of London are the front end for Rizzo and former Ilderton member Amie Coward is skipping a rink out of Kingsville.

Draw times today are

8:30 a.m., noon, 4:30 and 9 p.m.,

and 9:30 a.m., 2 and 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. The A and B finals tomorrow are at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively.

In the East regional at Belleville Quinte, the field includes four-time provincial champion Anne Merklinger of Rideau and two-time provincial winner Alison Goring of Bayview.

Kia Cup regionals

The men also are at the regional stage this weekend with play starting today at Royal Kingston, St. George's, Milton and Windsor Beach Grove.

Two teams from each advance to the provincial Kia Cup championship

Feb. 7-13 at Whitby along with one rink from the two Challenge Rounds next weekend at Gananoque and Markdale.

At Beach Grove, the field includes Kirk Ziola of Ilderton, Heath McCormick of Sarnia, Jim Lyle of St. Thomas, Tim Morrison of Brant, Brent Ross of Harriston, Howie Pruden of Listowel, 2000 Ontario champ Peter Corner of Glanford and Todd Brandwood of Glendale.


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