Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- for Greg's story -- Red Deer's Dustin Eckstrand calls on the sweepers during the Red Deer Curling Classic at the Pidherny Curling Centre on Sunday

Eckstrand takes full advantage to get to playoffs

Dustin Eckstrand entered the Red Deer Curling Classic with arguably an unfair advantage.

Dustin Eckstrand entered the Red Deer Curling Classic with arguably an unfair advantage.

“He’s the club manager and ice manager here, so we have a little bit of an inside track that way,” Red Deer skip Dustin Eckstrand said Sunday at the Pidherney Centre, in reference to his third Wade Thurber.

Eckstrand was coming off a 5-4 win over Aaron Sluchinski of Airdrie in a men’s C-event semifinal and thumped Sean Geall of New Westminster, B.C., 9-3 in a men’s division C-event qualifier of the Red Deer Curling Classic, a World Curling Tour event.

“We’ve been just a little sharper, in fact this has been the sharpest the boys have played all year, which is great,” said Eckstrand. “Wade has the ice really good here and that helps making shot-making a little more fine-tuned.”

Eckstrand admitted playing at home, with Joel Peterman filling in for Scott Cruickshank, gave his crew more than a bit of a lift.

“There’s extra initiative to play here with the hometown crowd,” he said. “We started winning early and that got us on a roll. We lost an A-event qualifier (5-4 to Josh Heidt of Kerrobert, Sask., Saturday night) by last rock and now we’re qualifying out of C.

“It’s been a lot of fun, with good crowds too. I’m on the organizing committee for this event and it’s been great seeing the crowds here this weekend.”

Eckstrand’s rink has been together for two years and last winter competed in the Southern Alberta Association men’s playdowns before entering the Traveller’s Championship — the national club team playdowns.

“We kind of did the .500 thing, we lost in a C semifinal at the southerns,” said the skip. “Then we got to the Travellers provincials and lost both qualifying games.

“We’ll decide over the next few weeks whether we’ll go into the provincial playdowns or back to the Travellers.”

Eckstrand joined A-event qualifiers Josh Heidt and Mick Lizmore of Edmonton, B qualifiers Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton and Grant Dezura of Maple Ridge, B.C., and fellow C-event qualifiers Jamie King of Edmonton, Brock Virtue of Calgary and Brad Clark of Seattle in this morning’s quarter-finals at 9 a.m. The semifinals follow at 12:30, with the men’s final set for 3:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon and Crystal Webster of Calgary advanced to the quarter-finals by qualifying out of the A event Saturday. Also moving on are B-event qualifiers Chelsea Carey and Heather Nedohin of Edmonton and C-event qualifiers Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Mari Motohashi of Japan, Alina Paetz of Switzerland and Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary.

The women’s final goes at 3:30 p.m.

Other Red Deer Curling Classic scores:

Sunday

Women

7 p.m. (C qualifiers) — Paetz 5 Scott 2; Scheidegger 7 Thurston 6; Kleibrink 5 Homan 4; Motohashi 8 Englot 5.

3:30 p.m. — Nedohin 8 Homan 2, Carey 5 Scheidegger 3 (B qualifiers); C event — Englot 7 O’Connor 0; Kleibrink 6 Barber 4; Paetz 5 Hamilton 4; Scott 6 Siverston 5.

12:15 p.m. C event— Hamilton 7 Doyle 2; Kleibrink 9 Gushulak 3; Thurston 10 Kim 4; O’Connor 6 Moore 4; Motohashi 7 Fleming 4; Barber 10 Chyz 7.

Saturday

9:30 a.m, — A event: Paetz 7 Englot 3; Webster 6 Chyz 3; Fleming 6 Homan 5; T. Paulsen 6 J. Paulsen 3; B event — Doyle 7 Kleibrink 3; Carey 6 Moore 3.

1 p.m. (B event): Gushulak 7 Brown 4; Sivertson 4 Hamilton 3; Nedohin 5 DeJong 3; O’Connor 6 Rogers 4; Kim 7 Motohashi 6; Scheidegger 6 Scott 5.

4:30 p.m. — A event: T. Paulsen 8 Fleming 2; Webster 6 Paetz 5; B event: Englot 8 Doyle 3; Carey 6 Chyz 4; C event: Game 4 Marthaller 3; Barber 7 Doroshuk 2.

8 p.m. — B event: Scheidegger 9 Gushulak 2; Homan 7 O’Connor 4; Sivertson 4 Thurston 3; Nedohin 6 Brown 5; C event: Scott 6 Brown 5; Motohaski 7 DeJong 5.

Men

12:15 p.m. C event — Clark 11 Manser 2; Virtue 8 Tselouson 2; M. Johnson 7 Cross 2; O’Connor 8 White 7; Kim 7 Manners 4; Frieberger 5 Pfister 4.

3:30 p.m. — Brendan Bottcher 7 Jamie King 2; Grant Dezura 7 Marsh 4 (B qualifiers); C event — Gaell 7 M. Johnson 3; Kim 7 Schlender 6; Eckstrand 5 Freiberger 4.

8 p.m. (C event) — Clark 9 Marsh 2; Virtue 7 Kim 1; Eckstrand 9 Geall 3; King 5 O’Connor 2.

Sunday

9:30 a.m. — A event: Lizmore 6 O’Connor 4; Eckstrand 6 Bottcher 3; Dezura 6 Clark 3; J. Heidt 6 White 4; B event: Geall 8 D. Heidt 0; Pfister 7 Tselouson 3; King 8 Kelts 5; M. Johnson 6 Manners 1.

1 p.m. — B event: Virtue 7 Stroh 1; Kim 5 Cross 4; Marsh 6 Peterman 4; Schlender 7 Sluchinksi 3; C event: Willerton 8 Merklinger 3; Manser 5 Usselman 2; Ackerman 5 Baier 3; Freiberger 6 R. Johnson 4.

4:30 p.m. — A event; Lizmore 7 Dezura 3; J. Heidt 5 Eckstrand 4; B event: Geall 7 Clark 2; King 6 M. Johnson 2; Bottcher 7 Pfister 5; C event: Manners 4 Kelts 2.

8 p.m. — B event: Schlender 6 White 2; Virtue 7 Kim 1; Marsh 3 O’Connor 2; C event: Sluchinksi 8 Peterman 2; Cross 8 Stroh 4; Tselouson 8 D. Height 7.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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