PICTOU COUNTY, N.S. — Team Tracy Fleury climbed back into the win column Thursday at the KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge.
The recent Masters winners from East St. Paul improved to a 2-1 round-robin record with a tight 4-2 victory over Manitoba rivals Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli during the seventh round-robin draw.
Fleury split her two games on the first full day of pool play Wednesday defeating Team Isabella Wrana and losing to Team Nina Roth.
“Our second game yesterday was a bit of a struggle for me, so it feels good to bounce back and have a good game out there today,” said Fleury, who earned her first career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title at the Masters. “I feel like we’ve found our groove and (we’re) feeling confident.”
Team Fleury lead Kristin MacCuish got things off on the right note winning the draw-to-the-button shootout for hammer by landing at the top of the four-foot circle and edging Team Einarson third Val Sweeting’s shot by just three millimetres.
Fleury forced to settle for a single to start, but managed to make it a 2-0 advantage in the third after Einarson bumped and rolled too far to give up a steal.
“It definitely helped to start with hammer, have that control and then put some pressure on them,” Fleury said. “We got a couple of critical steals I think and then that just made the difference.”
Einarson, ranked No. 1 in the world, recovered in style during the fourth pulling off a cross-house double takeout to score the tying two points.
“As soon as my shot stopped we’re like, ‘Oh no, we left it,’ and she’s so good at those shots,” Fleury said. “We knew she was going to make it. We just tried to park it, move on and start the next end fresh.”
Although Fleury was limited to another single in six, she tacked on another steal in seven to rebuild the two-point gap as Einarson was wide on her draw. Einarson still retained the hammer for the final frame, however, she was unable to force an extra end with Fleury running her out of rocks.
Team Einarson is now even at 1-1 at the midway point of pool play.
Elsewhere in Draw 7, Edmonton’s Team Kelsey Rocque also climbed to a 2-1 record after beating Team Sayaka Yoshimura from Japan 6-5. Yoshimura finished runner-up to Fleury at the Masters but has dropped to 0-3 here.
Reigning world champions Team Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland stole four points in the sixth end to close out an 8-1 victory over Olympic gold medallists Team Anna Hasselborg of Sweden. Tirinzoni moved up to 2-0 while Hasselborg sits at 2-1.
Team Robyn Silvernagle of North Battleford, Sask., defeated Switzerland’s Team Elena Stern 6-4. It was the first win for Silvernagle (1-1) while Stern slipped to 0-2 and is on the brink of elimination.
The lone men’s game on the draw saw Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., double up on Winnipeg’s Team Jason Gunnlaugson 6-3. Both teams are level at 1-1.
The Tier 1 divisions, featuring 15 of the top teams from around the globe based on the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit, are split into three pools for round-robin play with the top eight overall qualifying for the weekend playoffs.
The Tier 2 divisions consist of 16 teams including the next 10 ranked teams on the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit and six teams from within the event’s region.
Tier 2 results
- Muyres 6, Smith 2
- Ruohonen 6, Dropkin 5 (EE)
- Balsdon 6, Arsenault 4
- Feltscher 7, St-Georges 0
- Murphy 5, Brothers 4
The KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge is the second of six events on the 2019-20 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling schedule. … Winners of the Tier 1 divisions earn $30,000 and berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup. … Also up for grabs in the Tier 1 only are Pinty’s Cup bonus points. The leaders following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April will capture the Pinty’s Cup with additional prize money awarded. … Winners of the Tier 2 divisions earn $10,000 and promotions to face the world’s best at the 2020 Meridian Canadian Open.