Calgary's Chelsea Carey delivers a stone during the Meridian Canadian Open women's quarterfinals on Jan. 20, 2018, in Camrose, Alta. (Anil Mungal)

Carey clips Crocker to advance to Canadian Open semis

January 20, 2018, 4:00 PM

CAMROSE, Alta. — Calgary’s Chelsea Carey is keeping calm and carrying on into the Meridian Canadian Open semifinals.

From the Canadian mixed doubles trials to provincial playdowns and now the Meridian Canadian Open, it’s been a grind of a month for Carey, who advanced to the final four of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament with an 8-5 victory over Edmonton’s Laura Crocker in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

“It’s been a lot,” said Team Carey second Jocelyn Peterman, who competed in the mixed doubles trials with Brett Gallant. “A lot of playing and a lot of being on the road but the light is at the end of the tunnel. We’re almost done this week and we’re still feeling good physically.”

The 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Carey will now play South Korea’s EunJung Kim, who ousted Ottawa’s Rachel Homan 7-4 in a Winter Olympics preview match.

Crocker opened with the hammer and split up the house to allow fourth Kelsey Rocque to hit for a deuce.

The second end didn’t go either team’s way with Rocque’s last running right through the house untouched and Carey flubbing the draw for two by sliding heavy to settle for just a single.

Rocque, who skipped the squad until a recent lineup switch, regained the two-point advantage for Team Crocker with a draw for one in the third.

Carey made a soft bump and raise for three points in the fourth to pull ahead and extended her lead 5-3 with a steal in five as Rocque rolled too far on her draw.

The two-time world junior champion Rocque pulled off a double tap for the equalizing deuce in six, but Carey counted another three-spot in seven and ran her opponent out of rocks in eight to advance.

“It definitely wasn’t our strongest game as a team but Chelsea and Cathy [Overton-Clapham] played really well,” Peterman said. “They helped us get those points for sure.”

Carey will compete in a wild-card play-in game against Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson next week for the final spot at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C. Carey and Einarson were the top two teams on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) standings who had not already qualified.

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The other side of the women’s bracket will see Jennifer Jones take on Michelle Englot in a battle of Winnipeg-based teams.

Jones bounced Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland in a 6-3 set while Englot edged Allison Flaxey of Caledon, Ont., 6-5 in an extra end.

Team Jones is closing in on making Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling history as the reigning Players’ Championship, Masters and National champions look to become the first to hold all four major titles in the series at once.

The Meridian Canadian Open continues at Encana Arena with the men’s quarterfinals at 4 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. local time on Sportsnet ONE. Also watch online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) or (international).

Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., faces Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers, Peter de Cruz of Switzerland battles Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher (with super spare skip Steve Laycock), Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson clashes with Calgary’s Kevin Koe and Sweden’s Niklas Edin meets Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen.

The semifinal draw is set to start at 8 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. local time (Sportsnet ONE).

The Meridian Canadian Open is the fourth tournament — and third major — of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. The preliminary round featured a triple knockout format where teams had to win three games before they lost three in order to qualify for the weekend playoffs.

NOTES: Winners of the Meridian Canadian Open earn berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup running April 24-29 at Calgary’s WinSport Arena. … Points are also up for grabs for the Bonus Cup, awarded to the overall season champions.