OAKVILLE, Ont. — Team Tracy Fleury from East St. Paul, Man., needed an extra end but got the job done in overtime to complete a successful title defence at the Masters.
Team Fleury edged Team Jennifer Jones 9-7 during the women’s final Sunday of the season-opening Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex.
“We’re really excited,” Fleury said. “That was quite the battle, a really exciting game. We’re very happy.”
Skip Tracy Fleury, third Selena Njegovan, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish earned $33,000 from the combined $300,000 prize purse, 12 Pinty’s Cup points and a spot in the season-ending KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup.
“It’s nice to earn our spot early and we definitely want to play all of the Slams,” Fleury said. “To get that invite is good.”
Fleury captured her first GSOC women’s title at the 2019 Masters in North Bay, Ont., with family and friends making the trip from her nearby hometown of Sudbury. The Masters was cancelled last season and this year’s edition is the first GSOC event with fans back in the stands since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s home,” Fleury said about winning both her GSOC titles in Ontario. “It’s always nice playing close to home.”
Skip Jennifer Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Dawn McEwen and alternate Lisa Weagle cashed in $20,000 as runners-up and nine Pinty’s Cup points following a thrilling week for the Winnipeg club. Team Jones slipped into the C side early of the triple knockout stage at 0-2 and won five consecutive games with elimination on the line to reach the final.
It’s the third title on tour already this season for Fleury, who also won the Oakville Labour Day Classic and Sherwood Park Women’s Curling Classic last month and kicked off the 2021-22 campaign winning 17 consecutive games.
“We’ve been working really hard just trying to get ready for the (Olympic) Trials next month,” Fleury said. “It’s definitely a big confidence boost heading in.”
Team Fleury opened with the hammer as the higher seed. Two precision shots from Njegovan set the table and a couple of misses from Jones opened the door for Fleury to draw into the house for a big count of three to start.
Jones recovered in the second end bumping for a deuce and erased the early deficit by stealing the tying point in the third when Fleury hit and rolled too far.
The tables continued to turn as Fleury bounced back and drew for another trey in the fourth end to re-establish the three-point gap at 6-3.
Jones attempted a risky raise in the fifth to try and get a multiple score, but she didn’t get the right angle and only counted the shot rock on the button for a single. Fleury drew to the ridge of the four-foot circle to match with a single in six and retake the three-point advantage.
The nine-time GSOC women’s champion Jones hit to take two points in the seventh and close within one then stole a point in the eighth end to force the extra. Jones made a clutch slide through the port to sit two staggered on the hammer.
It looked like Fleury was going to miss, but Njegovan called an audible on the sweeping to redirect their shooter off of a guard and in to remove one of Jones’s rocks, giving up just a single steal and retaining the hammer for the extra end.
Jones connected on a hard short runback double to sit two again in the extra, however, Fleury made no mistake bopping them both out to prevail.
“I think in the extra, Kristin’s rocks couldn’t have been more perfect,” Fleury said. “She really set up the extra end perfectly for us.”
NO TICK ZONE
Teams cannot tick guards off of the centre line while the five-rock, free guard zone is in effect during the eighth and extra ends only.