Six rinks start perfect on Day 1 of WCT stop

ROD KELLY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:22 AM ET

It may not be moving day, but Friday at the $23,000 World Financial Group Classic cashspiel at the Calgary Curling Club saw a half-dozen teams make big statements with their consistent play in the early going.

When all was said and done after Day 1 at the World Curling Tour event — the only Calgary stop on the men’s schedule this season — six rinks started with perfect 2-0 records.

The solid starts will be key as the battle to qualify for Sunday’s playoff round at the 24-team, four-pool roundrobin event heats up.

“There were a lot of good, close games Friday,” said event spokesman and participating skip Steve Mackey, shortly after his rink lost a closely-contested 6-4 game to Calgary’s Brock Virtue rink.

“I know my two games were very close,” said Mackey, who had a chance to defeat Virtue with a thin double in the eighth end but missed as his final shot slightly overcurled.

“There were a lot of games that could have gone either way.”

Starting at 2-0 were Calgary’s Mike Libbus rink, Vernon, B.C.’s Trevor Perepolkin, as well as Brandan Bottcher, James Pahl and Tom Appelman, all of Edmonton.

Also winning its opening two draws was the Cold Lake-based Matthew Blandford rink.

Originally a ’spiel held in late-September in past seasons, Calgary’s World Financial Group Classic was moved from the Garrison Curling Club to the Calgary Curling Club this year and also bumped back to mid-November.

Ten Calgary teams are among this year’s field, which also includes former Alberta and national champion Kevin Park of Edmonton and the Rob Schlender rink, also an Edmonton-based lineup.

Schlender’s rink entered the Classic ranked 18th in the world, the top-ranked team in the field.

Saturday, each team will play three games, and there’s a good chance the roundrobin event could see tie-breakers, as the top two teams from each pool advance to Sunday’s playoffs.

Mackey said the roundrobin set-up allows for a three-day ‘’spiel as opposed to a four-day, triple-knockout event.

Saturday should be on good one, Mackey said, as all teams, even those sitting at 0-2 after Day 1, can advance with three wins on Day 2.

“A 3-2 record can win a pool,” Mackey said.

Draws Saturday begin at 8:30 a.m.

rod.kelly@sunmedia.ca


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