PENTICTON, B.C. — Kerri Einarson has secured the 16th and final spot for the Tournament of Hearts.
Einarson, of East St. Paul, Man., defeated Calgary’s Chelsea Carey 7-4 Friday night in a wild-card draw for the last open spot in the field.
“It’s do or die, you’re in or you’re out so we were definitely nervous,” said Einharson. “But nerves are good. If you’re not nervous you’re not ready. We’re super, super excited.”
Carey scored a deuce in the sixth end to cut Einarson’s lead to 6-4, but any chance of a comeback was halted when the Manitoba skip added a single in the ninth.
“It’s a one-game event, and it’s up against a really good team, so it’s a toss-up all the time,” said a disappointed Carey. “You’ve got to put your best game together and hope it worked out for you and it just didn’t.”
The women’s national championship has been changed from a 12- to a 16-team field this year. The four-team qualification round was scrapped and instead of one big round-robin draw, the field is now divided into two eight-team pools.
For the first time, every provincial and territorial association has a direct entry into the main draw that begins Saturday.
Those 14 teams will be joined by Team Canada’s Michelle Englot — a replacement for Olympics-bound Rachel Homan — along with Einarson.
The wild-card draw between Einarson and Carey was a matchup of the top two teams from the Canadian Team Ranking System list that didn’t qualify out of their provincial/territorial championships. Carey holds the No. 2 CTRS position while Einarson is fourth.
The top four teams in each pool advance to the championship pool starting Feb. 1. The top four teams from that will advance to the Page playoffs.
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