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Team NWT goes 2-1, advances to Scotties pre-qualifier final

The Northwest Territories will play New Brunswick in a winner-take-all pre-qualifying final on Saturday afternoon to determine who will compete in this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

NWT Skip Kerry Galusha and her rink of Meagan Koehler, Danielle Derry, Sharon Cormier went 2-1 during round-robin play in the pre-qualifier.

After opening play with a 9-6 win over Yukon Thursday, Team NWT beat Nunavut 10-2 but lost to New Brunswick 9-4 on Friday.

That sets up a pre-qualifying final between the NWT and New Brunswick, which will be played at 12:30 p.m. MT Saturday.

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Nunavut and Yukon have no chance of moving on after finishing 0-3 and 1-2 respectively while New Brunswick finished with a perfect record of 3-0.

The winner of Saturday’s pre-qualifying final will move on to the main draw of the women’s national curling championship, which officially kicks off Saturday as well.

Unpopular pre-qualifier to be scrapped for 2018 tournament

The pre-qualifying event has proven to be unpopular amongst players since its implementation in 2015. It forces the country’s four lowest-ranked teams to play one another before the real tournament begins.

Prior to 2015, teams from the NWT and Yukon held a playoff to determine which team would compete in the national event.

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Thankfully for some, organizers have decided to drop the pre-qualifier for both the Scotties and Tim Hortons Brier (its male equivalent) from 2018 onward in favour of a 16-team format.

Team NWT has never advanced beyond the Scotties pre-qualifier since it was introduced.

Last year, the team won two of three round-robin games before losing to British Columbia in the pre-qualifying final.

Following the loss, Galusha told reporters it didn’t feel like her team was actually competing in the Scotties since they only got to play four games.

Thankfully for Galusha’s brother – fellow curler Jamie Koe – his team won’t have to compete in the Brier pre-qualifier after finishing 3-8 at last year’s men’s national championship.

“It’s a big relief that we can just focus on the event we’re in and not the pre-event,” he told Moose FM last month.

The 2017 Brier will be held in St. John’s, Newfoundland between Mar. 4 and Mar. 12.

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