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Fleury advances to Manitoba Scotties final

Tracy Fleury is through to Sunday’s final of the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer in Gimli.

Fleury and her East St. Paul club scored two in the ninth end to fend off Winnipeg’s Team Darcy Robertson 8-6 in the Page 1-2 playoff Saturday night.

The winner of Sunday’s final (4 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. CT; Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW) will represent Manitoba next month at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sydney, N.S.

Fleury, from Sudbury, competed for Ontario at the Canadian women’s curling championship in 2012 and Northern Ontario in 2015 and 2018. She linked up with Kerri Einarson’s former teammates Selena Njegovan (third), Liz Fyfe (second) and Kristin MacCuish (lead) 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.

Robertson, who has finished runner-up at the past two provincials, will play in the semifinals for a second chance to reach the championship game. Team Robertson takes on the new Team Kerri Einarson on their home turf Sunday at 10 a.m. ET / 9 a.m. CT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW.

Einarson scored two points in the 10th and final frame to oust Winnipeg’s Team Abby Ackland 6-4 in the Page 3-4 playoff game.

Although Einarson topped the Asham Group during round-robin play with a 6-1 record, which would have earned her a spot in the 1-2 game in previous years, the rules were changed this season to take the top teams overall regardless of pools.

Robertson secured the No. 1 seed with an unblemished 7-0 record in the Asham Express Group. Fleury, who lost to Robertson in pool play, went 6-1 and edged out Einarson for the No. 2 spot based on draw-to-the-button shootout scores.

Ackland advanced to the playoffs following an 8-7 win over Winnipeg’s Team Beth Peterson earlier Saturday in a tiebreaker with both crews wrapping up round-robin play at identical 5-2 records.

Jennifer Jones did not return to defend the Manitoba title as her squad earned the Team Canada auto-berth spot to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts as the reigning national champions.