PENTICTON, B.C. — Team Wild Card, Manitoba and Nova Scotia are all 8-2 and atop of the standings heading into the final draw at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Wild Card entry Kerri Einarson maintains top spot in the championship pool despite a 9-5 loss to Team Canada’s Michelle Englot (6-4) in Friday afternoon’s draw at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Einarson’s last rock came up light as they tried to get it to park on the button. That gave Team Canada a deuce.
“Yeah, it’s a little frustrating, but we came out not as sharp as we had been,” said Einarson, whose team is from East St. Paul, Man. “We just got to pick it up for the next game (Friday evening against Alberta).”
Einarson and her team of third Selena Kaatz, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish, will block out the loss adding they need to push forward and keep that first spot.
“We need to come out tonight and play better,” she said.
Englot’s team kept themselves in the mix playing what she said was a solid match in a tough game. Einarson’s team had been playing well and Englot knew they had to play well to beat the Wild Card team. Englot credited getting rocks in better position most of the game.
“Almost let it slip away at the end, but finished it off,” said Englot. “One more and hopefully we get some help. We want to take care of ourselves. A 7-4 record is respectable. We want to come out and play strong tonight.”
A steal of one for a 6-2 lead saw Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones (8-2) shake hands with Alberta’s Casey Scheidegger (7-3) earlier than expected in eight ends.
“I was a little bit surprised, but in a way both teams have a big game tonight so it’s nice to have a little bit more of a break and maybe that’s what they were thinking,” said Jones, who has Shannon Birchard as a third — filling in for Kaitlyn Lawes playing mixed doubles in the upcoming Winter Olympics — second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen on her team.
Jones had a 3-1 lead after four ends. Alberta scored one more point in the fifth end, then Manitoba rattled off three straight points.
In other action, Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault (8-2) scored a triple in the eighth end to put a dagger into B.C.’s Kesa Van Osch (4-6) 10-4.
Arsenault said she can’t complain as everyone on her team is playing well and they secured a spot into the four-team Page playoff.
“We seemed to have a bit of a lull in the middle ends where we didn’t get our rocks perfectly placed, but luckily the other team wasn’t able to take advantage of our error,” said Arsenault, who plays with Christina Black (third), Jennifer Baxter (second) and lead Jennifer Crouse.
Nova Scotia doesn’t plan to change how it plays and would like to continue getting early leads they can defend.
“It would be sweet if we could do that again,” said Arsenault, who has received words of advice from former teammates.
Arsenault recently said one of the things she learned while playing for Colleen Jones, a six-time Scotties champ, is that patience is a “huge thing.”
“She had the patience,” said Arsenault, who won five Scotties with Jones. “No panicking. Just be patient. Be strong in the eighth, ninth and 10th. As long as the game is close and you play well in the eighth, ninth and 10th, you’re probably going to win.”
The top four teams advance to the Page playoff on Saturday. Semifinal and final action is on Sunday.
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