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Tbaytel Major League of Curling standings start to tighten

Trevor Bonot, Ben Mikkelsen rinks improve to 4-3 to join fifth-place logjam with Al Hackner and Mike Pozihun.

KAKABEKA FALLS, Ont. -- One night a week, Trevor Bonot and Al Hackner are teammates.

Wednesday wasn't that night.

Instead they were on opposite sides, battling it out for position in the Tbaytel Major League of Curling standings at the Kakabeka Curling Club.

Not surprisingly, it proved to be the match of the night, not decided until the second-to-last shot.

Hackner, the former two-time world champion, had a touch to much weight on his final stone and left Bonot, a former Canadian mixed champion, in shot position, not needing to fire his final rock to eke out a 4-3 triumph.

The win upped Bonot's record to 4-3, vaulting him into a four-way tie for fourth spot in the standings, two games behind front-runner Dylan Johnston.

“The focus for us was to just keep it close. You never want to give Al too much of a lead. So the goal was to keep it close and then make it happen,” Bonot said. “It's evident in the score line. We had a lot of singles and some steals in there and that's just the kind of game we played.”

Bonot struck first, picking up one in the first, but Hackner struck with with a deuce in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Bonot drew to the button to even the match in the third, then stole singles in the fourth and fifth to take the lead for good.

It was all about making the most of his chances.

“We had the opportunity to get some nice draws in there. I finally found my weight for draw weight this season and the ice was actually consistent for the speed,” Bonot said. “We had some tricky spots with some spots that were picking, but we knew the weight and I felt comfortable with some draws and we got fortunate.”

Hackner picked up one in the sixth to pull to within one, but the two sides blanked the seventh and Bonot closed it out with hammer in the eighth.

One sheet over, Ben Mikkelsen captured a second straight contest, scoring three in the fifth to pull away from Team Jonathan Vellinga foursome, skipped on Wednesday night by Myles Harding.

Mikkelsen, the 2014 Major League of Curling champion who won his first two games before dropping three in a row, also joined the 4-3 logjam with his latest win, a 6-4 triumph.

“It's good because this league is full of a lot of good curlers who can bring it to the end every single game,” Mikkelsen said.

“We've been fortunate the last few years to start off well in the league. This year we're starting off a little bit slower, but as long as we keep going in the right direction that we want to go, making the playoffs is always the first step.”

The top seven teams in the 14-team circuit will advance to the championship round, top spot earning a bye into the semifinal.

Dylan Johnston took another step in that direction, finishing off Mike Desilets rink in five ends, scoring three in the fourth and stealing one more in the fifth to earn a 7-1 victory. Johnston's win edged him half a game in front of Krista McCarville at 6-1.

In the only other game of the night, Mike Pozihun captured his third straight, downing Mike McCarville 7-2. Pozihun improved to 4-3, while McCarville slipped to 2-5.

Action continues next week at the Port Arthur Curling Club.


Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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