Team Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon (photo) are through to the semi – currently down 2-1 against Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink after four ends – after defeating Ontario's Sherry Middaugh 9-4 in a tiebreaker.
A big four-ender in the eighth frame ended it early, but there were other indicators of tentative play from Middaugh. In the fourth end, with her own guard in play, Middaugh elected to hit a stone in the back 12-foot rings... a call reminiscent of a long-bygone era in the sport. Or so one would think.
Yes, things tighten up in the playoffs. Emotions, for one. But must strategy also tighten up, particularly when one has been playing fairly aggressively all week?
Two exclusives, from last night in the Keith's Patch: Team Jan Betker is not entering STOH playdowns in Saskatchewan. The squad will compete in January's Strauss Canada Cup and the first-ever women's Players' Championship in April... and just might call it a career afterwards. "Joan (McCusker) and I were retiring after last season," said lead Marcia Gudereit. "Then we got this (Olympic Trials) spot. We haven't talked about it, but we may be done."
Item two: Team Glenn Howard, agonizing runner-ups in the last two Ontario championships, will not enter playdowns either. They are committing to compete in one of the Grand Slams which conflicts with their regional playdown.
Not really an exclusive: Pat Ryan is retiring from competitive play. Now living in Red Deer, Alta., Ryan plans to park it for the playdowns. That's what he is saying, anyways. His now ex-teammates have picked up Jeff Richards, son of Kelly Scott coach Gerry Richards, to replace him.