John Morris and his Vernon, B.C., rink won the men's A-side qualifying game of the 2017 Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, shading Edmonton's Brendan Bottcher 4-3.
Morris and his teammates have locked in a place for the 2017 Roar of the Rings, Canada's Olympic qualifying tournament that begins in Ottawa on Dec. 2.
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Morris, who won Olympic gold in 2010 playing third for Kevin Martin, said this team learned a lesson from the 2013 run to the final that it will put into play in Ottawa.
"We were sure determined in 2013, and I actually visualized playing my old team [Martin] in the final, and we actually played them in the semis," said Morris, who will be playing in his fifth consecutive Roar of the Rings. "There were just a lot of emotions in that game, and I think we let off the gas pedal a bit and we weren't at our sharpest in the final. So, we're going to prepare for a grind for the entire event and we won't let up one inch until the very last rock is thrown. That will be the biggest difference."
Tippin clinches last women's berth
Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont., clinched the last women's berth into the Roar of the Rings next month in Ottawa with an 8-3 win over Winnipeg's Briane Meilleur on Sunday in the women's B-side final of the Road to the Roar pre-trials.
That will send Team Tippin to Ottawa as the ninth women's team playing for the right to represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"We're so happy at how we played today in both games. We just came out firing," said Tippin. "We just needed to keep focused. We had played great throughout the week and we knew that we just needed to come out and play our best, focus on every shot until the end, and we did."
Tippin was on fire all day. Earlier, in the B-side semifinal, Tippin was scored at 89 per cent as her team piled up an 8-5 win over Edmonton's Kelsey Rocque.
Bottcher dispatches Howard, claims final spot
Bottcher and his Edmonton rink have earned their chance to go for an Olympic berth.
Bottcher rolled to a 9-5 win over Glenn Howard on Sunday in the men's B-side final of the 2017 Road to the Roar pre-trials.
The win clinched the final men's spot in the Roar of the Rings next month in Ottawa, where Canada's four-player curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea will be decided.
After holding Howard, from Tiny, Ont., to a single in the first, it was Bottcher's team that controlled much of the remainder of the draw, with the exception of the eighth end when Howard was able to steal a point to go up 5-4.
But Bottcher came straight back to retake the lead with two in the ninth, and put the game away with a steal of three in the 10th when Howard couldn't pull off a long raise to salvage a single point and force an extra end.
"It's huge for all of us to get [to the Trials], to experience it, and we're coming in as the huge underdogs, which I think frees us up a little bit to just go out there and play well again," said Bottcher. "There's zero expectation of how we're going to do there. So I'm just looking forward to being there, enjoying it all and hopefully getting all the experience we can."
Bottcher joins a men's field that includes fellow Road to the Roar qualifier John Morris of Vernon, B.C., who beat Bottcher in the A-side final on Sunday morning.
The Road to the Roar is the final qualifying event for teams to reach the Roar of the Rings, Dec. 2-10 in Ottawa, where Canada's four-player curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be decided.