CURLING: Playoff push continues at 2008 U.S. Seniors

Jan. 19, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 19, 2008 Playoff push intensifies at 2008 U.S. Senior Nationals (HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) - The push for the playoffs intensified Saturday morning as two teams still remain undefeated and several others are still in the hunt at the 2008 USA Curling Senior National Championships Saturday at the Exmoor Curling Club. Brian Simonson's Minnesota squad picked up its fifth win of the competition in last night's draw to remain perfect. In this morning's action, David Russell's Wisconsin team also improved to 5-0 in Pool B with an 8-2 win over the Stuart Graves team from Massachusetts. On the women's side, Pam Oleinik's Wisconsin team also is perfect at 4-0 with two games remaining in the double round robin. In other action this morning, Jeff Wright's Illinois team kept its playoff hopes alive with an 8-2 win over Seppo Sormunen's team to improve to 3-2. The top two teams in each pool qualify to the semifinals on Sunday. Wright and Sormunen are currently tied for second place in their pool. Wright (Libertyville, Ill.) and teammates Nils Johansson (Highland Park, Ill.), Mike Griem (Lake Bluff, Ill.), Bob Alsteen (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Bob Moulton (Lake Forest, Ill.) stole the first two ends to build a 3-0 lead that Sormunen's team couldn't overcome. Lionel Locke's Minnesota team got its second win of the tournament with a 9-2 win over Walter Ehlert's Wisconsin team. Locke (St. Paul, Minn.) and teammates Pete Westberg (Woodbury, Minn.), Paul Erickson (Minneapolis) and Pat Gillis (Apple Valley, Minn.) opened with three points that started a scoring frenzy for the Minnesotans. After Ehlert's team scored two in the second, Locke's rink followed with a deuce and stole the next three ends to seal the victory. David Garber's Wisconsin team posted its first win of the tournament with an 8-7 extra end win over George Austin's New York team. Garber (Stevens Point, Wis.) and teammates Chris Moore (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), Thom Knitter (Mequon, Wis.) and Roger Peckinpaugh (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) stole the first two ends and hung four on the scoreboard in the fourth end to build a 6-1 lead. Austin's team made a comeback and stole two in the eighth end to tie the game and force the extra end. Garber's team scored the needed point for the win in the ninth. Action today continues with draws at 12 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Live scoring from this event is available at The men's round robin continues through Sunday. The top two teams from each pool will meet in Sunday's semifinal with the championship final on tap at 8 a.m. Monday. The women will play a double round robin with the team with the best record earning the national title. The winning teams will represent the U.S. at the World Senior Championships in Vierumaki, Finland, March 8-16. Line scores: Locke* 302 211 XX 9 Ehlert 020 000 XX 2 Graves* 011 000 XX 2 Russell 200 312 XX 8 Wright 120 301 1X 8 Sormunen* 001 010 0X 2 Garber 110 401 00 1 8 Austin* 001 020 220 7 *last stone in first end Standings: Pool A: Brian Simonson (Minnesota) 5-0 Phil DeVore (Minnesota) 4-1 Paul Pustovar (Minnesota) 3-2 Leland Rich (Alaska) 3-2 George Godfrey (Wisconsin) 2-3 Merlin Orvik (Minnesota) 2-3 Michael Parry (Massachusetts) 1-4 Duke Grimshaw (Michigan) 0-5 Pool B: David Russell (Wisconsin) 5-0 Jeff Wright (Illinois) 3-2 Seppo Sormunen (Minnesota) 3-2 George Austin (New York) 2-3 Stuart Graves (Massachusetts) 2-3 Walter Ehlert (Wisconsin) 2-3 Lionel Locke (Minnesota) 2-3 David Garber (Wisconsin) 1-4 Women's standings: Pam Oleinik (Wisconsin) 4-0 Star Pfiffner (Wisconsin) 3-1 Jamie Hutchinson (Massachusetts) 1-3 Delores Montgomery (Ohio) 0-4 USA Curling is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, AmerAust Technologies and Nike as well as by AT,T, General Motors, The Home Depot, and Bank of America through a joint marketing program with the U.S. Olympic Committee. (30) For more information: Terry Kolesar, USA Curling,, 715-344-1199, Ext. 202, or 608-338-9900 (cell).