Sweden's Anna Hasselborg delivers a stone during the tiebreaker draw of the WestJet Players' Championship in Toronto. (Anil Mungal)

Hasselborg holds off Flaxey in Players’ Championship tiebreaker

April 15, 2017, 1:58 PM

TORONTO — Anna Hasselborg’s last rock hit the brakes just in time to get the single in the extra end to eliminate Allison Flaxey 5-4 in Saturday’s tiebreaker draw at the WestJet Players’ Championship.

After the Masters champ Flaxey rolled heavy on her final shot, Hasselborg faced one counter and her draw appeared to be sliding too far before stopping short.

“I thought it was good right out of my hand,” Hasselborg said. “When it came up through like top four I thought it was heavy but the girls judged it well. I just tried to stay over there and let them do their job.”

The Swedish skip bounced back after hitting and rolling out while looking at two counters in eight to give up a steal that forced the extra end.

Overall, Hasselborg rebounded too as her team went through the round robin at 2-3 starting with losses to Tracy Fleury and Val Sweeting before scoring wins against Eve Muirhead and Michelle Englot. A 10-5 loss to Jennifer Jones on Friday sent Hasselborg into the tiebreakers.

“We had a rough first day here and didn’t have a good game against Jones,” Hasselborg explained. “I think this game was a really good game even though we didn’t manage to win in the eighth, but I think we had a strong team performance. Everyone is on their feet and looking forward to quarters.”

Hasselborg will now play top-seed Fleury in the quarterfinals and she said knowing that would be the matchup was a bit of motivation to win the tiebreaker.

“We saw that and it definitely wanted us to be in the quarterfinals even more,” Hasselborg said.

The other three playoff games are Rachel Homan vs. Sweeting, Jones vs. Muirhead and Silvana Tirinzoni vs. Casey Scheidegger.

WestJet Players’ Championship: Tickets | Scores | Playoff Brackets | Draw Schedule | TV Schedule

Meanwhile, Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers stole two in the seventh to pull ahead and held on in eight swiping a couple more to oust John Morris and his Vernon, B.C., team 9-5.

After Team Morris fourth Jim Cotter missed the angle on a runback in the second, Carruthers capitalized with an open draw for three. Morris bounced right back with Cotter easing his last into the paint for three to draw level. Cotter made a great hit and roll to lie shot in four and Carruthers flashed the blank attempt to give up a steal.

Morris extended his lead in five as Carruthers clipped his own to hand over another steal. Carruthers counted two in the sixth to bring things even again. The steal show continued as Carruthers sat two across the house to force the draw and Cotter was light on the delivery.

Cotter collided with a guard in the eighth end and that was handshakes for Carruthers to complete the comeback.

Carruthers faces top-seed Mike McEwen in the men’s quarterfinals. The other three playoff matches were set with Brad Jacobs vs. Kyle Smith, Brad Gushue vs. Kevin Koe and Niklas Edin vs. Peter de Cruz.

Catlin Schneider filled in for injured Team Morris lead Rick Sawatsky this week. Schneider threw second stones with Tyrel Griffith moving over to lead.

Morris was unable to surpass Laycock in the CTRS points race with a guaranteed berth to the Olympic Trials on the line.

It was the second tiebreaker victory for Carruthers, who crushed Laycock 11-3 in the first round Friday night.

It’s the final event of the season as a whole for Team Carruthers as their skip, along with Team Homan’s Joanne Courtney, will represent Canada later this month at the world mixed doubles championship. Carruthers will miss out on defending the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup, however, the other three will move up in the lineup and new alternate/adviser Craig Savill is planning to make his debut with the team at lead.

The men’s quarterfinals are Saturday at 3 p.m. ET featuring Koe vs. Gushue (CBC) with the women’s quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet 360). Watch both draws online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) or gsoc.yaretv.com (international).

NOTES: The WestJet Players’ Championship is the fourth and final major of the season. It’s also the penultimate event of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season with the winners earning berths to the year-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup. … The Rogers Grand Slam Cup, awarded to the overall season champions, will also be awarded following the conclusion of the WestJet Players’ Championship.