The Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier pictures continued to take shape Sunday with provincial champions crowned across the nation.
Chelsea Carey’s crew punched their ticket to next month’s Canadian women’s curling championship with authority. Carey pulled off a thrilling triple takeout in the ninth end to score four points and close out an 8-3 victory over Kelsey Rocque’s team in the Jiffy Lube Alberta Scotties final in Stettler.
Tracy Fleury’s East St. Paul-based team emerged victorious after a wild Manitoba Scotties final to represent their province. Fleury fought back after giving up an early five-ender to erase the deficit, steal the lead and maintain the momentum in the 13-7 comeback victory over hometown favourites Team Kerri Einarson in Gimli.
Nova Scotia’s Team Jill Brothers, New Brunswick’s Team Andrea Crawford and Saskatchewan’s Team Robyn Silvernagle also secured their spots for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts taking place Feb. 16-24 in Sydney, N.S.
New Brunswick’s Team Terry Odishaw and Nova Scotia’s Team Stuart Thompson locked up their berths in men’s play for the Tim Hortons Brier running March 2-10 in Brandon, Man.
Carey captured the Alberta and Canadian championships in 2016 with an entirely different lineup and joined forces with third Sarah Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown this season. The Calgary crew reached the final with an undefeated record having advanced to the playoffs through the A Event of the triple knockout stage at 3-0 and downed Rocque 10-2 in Saturday’s Page A-B playoff game.
Rocque rolled past Jodi Marthaller’s Calgary club 12-6 in eight ends during the semifinal earlier Sunday to set up the rematch.
Carey had to settle for a single in the second but got it back with back-to-back steals. Sitting two counters in the third, Carey forced Rocque to make a difficult draw through the port that passed one but came up short of outcounting the other. Carey held shot rock in four sitting on the button and Rocque was unable to draw in to score as her shooter over-curled and crashed into the top of the pile.
An open draw for a deuce from Rocque in the fifth end closed the gap and she put the pressure on in the seventh sitting four counters to force Carey to a single. Rocque avoided giving up a steal in the eighth and escaped with a single after her shooter rubbed off of a guard, redirected in off another and tapped Carey’s shot stone to score.
It was game over after the ninth though as Rocque shook hands following Carey’s spectacular shot to score four.
Fleury, from Sudbury, also advanced to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a new lineup after competing for Ontario at the Canadian women’s curling championship in 2012 and Northern Ontario in 2015 and 2018. She linked up with Einarson’s former teammates — third Selena Njegovan, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish — this season. The trio won the Manitoba Scotties in 2016 and grabbed silver at nationals last year as the first-ever wildcard entry with Einarson.
Einarson appears to have another chance to enter the Scotties Tournament of Hearts via the wildcard play-in game against an opponent to be determined. Her new crew with former skips Val Sweeting (third), Shannon Birchard (second) and Briane Meilleur (lead) sit in second place on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) standings.
Things didn’t start off so good for Fleury, who opened with the hammer and had a tricky tap for two, but her shooter rolled away and she had to settle for a single.
The trouble with Tracy continued into the second as her first skip stone flashed through the house and an aggressive Einarson added a fourth rock to her pile. Fleury drew on her last down the middle but couldn’t bury it enough and Einarson made her pay by tapping it out to collect the count of five.
It was still early times and Fleury bounced back getting her tap for two points in three, forced Einarson to hit and stick around on the button for a single in four and erased the deficit in five. A misfire on a double attempt from Einarson gave Fleury the freebie draw for three that knotted it up 6-6 heading into the break.
Fleury maintained the momentum into the sixth to sit two and cashed in the steal for the 8-6 lead as Einarson came up light on her last.
Einarson eyed a blank in the seventh stage but made an error on the hit and roll with her shooter staying in the house for a single. Fleury stayed in control and drew for a deuce in eight to extend her lead to 10-7 and tacked on three more points in the ninth as Einarson rolled right through the house on her last.
Team Fleury booked their spot in the final scoring two in the ninth end to fend off Winnipeg’s Team Darcy Robertson 8-6 during the Page 1-2 playoff Saturday night. Einarson ousted Winnipeg’s Abby Ackland 6-4 in the 3-4 game and defeated Robertson 11-4 earlier Sunday in the semifinal to advance.
Jennifer Jones did not return to defend the Manitoba title as her Winnipeg-based squad earned the Team Canada auto-berth spot to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts as the reigning national champions.
Crawford bounced Sarah Mallais 6-3 in Moncton to win her eighth provincial title while Odishaw captured the New Brunswick Tankard with a 7-4 victory over James Grattan.
Thompson topped Jamie Murphy 6-4 on home ice in Dartmouth during the Nova Scotia Deloitte Tankard final and Brothers stole two points in the final frame for a stunning 6-5 comeback over Mary-Anne Arsenault to capture her third Nova Scotia Scotties title.
The Saskatchewan women’s final ended on a steal as well with Silvernagle swiping a point in the 10th end to clip defending champion Sherry Anderson 6-5 in Humboldt and win her first provincial title.
Provincial championships will continue this week with Ontario getting underway Sunday evening in Elmira.
Scotties Tournament of Hearts/Tim Hortons Brier teams
|Canada (defending champions)||Jennifer Jones||Brad Gushue|
|Alberta||Chelsea Carey||Feb. 6-10|
|B.C.||Jan. 29 – Feb. 3||Jan. 29 – Feb. 3|
|Manitoba||Tracy Fleury||Feb. 5-10|
|New Brunswick||Andrea Crawford||Terry Odishaw|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||Kelli Sharpe||Jan. 28 – Feb. 3|
|Northern Ontario||Jan. 30 – Feb. 3||Jan. 30 – Feb. 3|
|Nova Scotia||Jill Brothers||Stuart Thompson|
|Ontario||Jan. 27 – Feb. 3||Jan. 27 – Feb. 3|
|P.E.I.||Suzanne Birt||John Likely|
|Quebec||Gabrielle Lavoie||Martin Crete|
|Saskatchewan||Robyn Silvernagle||Feb. 6-10|
|Northwest Territories||Kerry Galusha||Feb. 6-11|
|Nunavut||Jenine Bodner||Dave St. Louis|
|Yukon||Nicole Baldwin||Feb. 7-10|
|Wildcard (play-in game)||Feb. 15||March 1|