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Canada Accidentally Forced Olympic Hopefuls Into Midnight Curling

Canada Accidentally Forced Olympic Hopefuls Into Midnight Curling
From Deadspin - November 14, 2017

Ah, tiebreaker scenarios: everyones favorite chaotic twist to a championship run. Baseball loved them so much, itwent ahead and built it into the schedule. Yetsome of the wildest tiebreaking calculus of the year occurred, out of all places,in the peaceful province of Prince Edward Island this weekend. Nothingin Anne of Green Gables would prepare you for the madness.

Summerside, PEI hosted this years Road to the Roar, a curling event designed to get two womens and two mens Canadian teams to qualify for the Roar of the Rings, the grueling nine-team (per gender) tournament, the winner of which represents Canada at the Olympics. Eight mens and eight womens teams had prequalified, so 14 teams each would curl it out for their respective final two spots in the RTTR. To compare the depth, this weeks U.S. curling trials are underway (available on the NBCSN app!), featuring five mens and three womens teams.

This year, Curling Canada went with a different format than 2013s triple-knockout tournament: They broke the teams up into pools of seven and held a single round-robin, then seeded the top three teams per pool into a modified page playoff, which gave the top two teams, rather than a bye, a double-elimination.

Going in, four wins likely meant a playoff spot and four losses meant a teams Olympic dreams were smashed. In one of the womens pools, however, something odd happened; most teams just went 1-1, then 2-2, and finally 3-3. Nobody was getting to four wins.

Here were the standings prior to the final game of the round robin in the womens Pool A:

Thankfullyor unfortunately, depending on your level of nihilismJulie Tippins team defeated Tracy Fleurys squad in the final womens round robin game, avoiding the ultimate entropy: seven teams all at 3-3. Still, that left five teams for two playoff spots. Head-to-head recordsgave Kelsey Rocque the No. 2 seed outright, and the other four teams were stuck into a four-team bracket, with games starting at 11:30 p.m. local time on Friday. As CBCs Devin Heroux chronicled, the arena blared Rock You Like A Hurricane as teams warmed up in front of virtually empty stands, because its a small town in PEI and they just wanted to get some sleep. The last tiebreaker game ended at 2:48 a.m. local time, according to Heroux, with Shannon Birchard beating former Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink in an extra end. Of course, none of those tiebreaker teams had enough energy to advance to the ROTR. The entire scenario was downright Sisyphean.

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