Saskatchewan advances to Brier championship pool

Photo Courtesy of Curling Canada Saskatchewan's entry at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary consists of skip Matt Dunstone, bottom left, third Braeden Moskowy, second Kirk Muyres, lead Dustin Kidby and coach Adam Kingsbury.

Matt Dunstone and his rink are among the eight that will vie for a playoff spot at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary.

The Saskatchewan squad, which includes third Braeden Moskowy, second Kirk Muyres and lead Dustin Kidby, clinched a spot in the championship pool on Thursday afternoon as they concluded Pool B round-robin play with a 7-5 victory over Scott McDonald’s Nova Scotia rink.

Their 6-2 record put them in a tie for second with Team Canada’s Brad Gushue and Ontario’s John Epping.

Kevin Koe’s Wild Card 2 rink led the way in Pool B with a 7-1 mark.

Rounding out the standings were McDonald (4-4), Quebec’s Mike Fournier (4-4), Newfoundland & Labrador’s Greg Smith (2-6), Prince Edward Island’s Eddie MacKenzie (1-7) and Nunavut’s Peter Mackey (0-8).

Meanwhile, four teams made their way to the championship pool from Pool A on Thursday night.

Wayne Middaugh’s Wild Card 3 rink led the way at 7-1, with Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher (6-2), Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson (5-3) and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs (5-3) also advancing.

New Brunswick’s James Grattan (4-4) had a chance to force a tiebreaker game if he won his final game, but he ended up dropping a 10-6 decision to Greg Skauge of the Northwest Territories. are battling it out for the final three championship pool spots in Pool A on Thursday night in a draw that gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

Mike McEwen’s Wild Card 1 rink (4-4), British Columbia’s Steve Laycock (3-5), Skauge (2-6) and Dustin Mikkelsen of the Yukon (0-8) were already eliminated from championship pool contention.

The top four teams in Pool A will face the top four squads in Pool B on Friday and Saturday, with the top three rinks earning a spot in Sunday’s playoffs.

Dunstone is back in action on Friday at 1:30 p.m. against Middaugh and will then face go up against Bottcher at 7:30 p.m. that night.

His championship pool slate will wrap up on Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. contest against Jacobs and a 7:30 p.m. meeting with Gunnlaugson.

Barring any tiebreakers on Sunday morning, second and third place will square off in the afternoon, while the championship pool leader will advance straight to the final at 6:30 p.m.

The winner will then represent Canada at the 2021 World Men’s Curling Championship in Calgary from April 2-11.