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Hasselborg, Carey & Jones clinch playoff spots at GSOC National

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. — The playoff picture is still rounding into form at the Boost National but Anna Hasselborg, Chelsea Carey and Jennifer Jones have avoided the tiebreaker logjam to qualify for the playoffs.

Hasselborg and her Swedish squad punched their playoff tickets with a 6-2 victory over Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan during Friday’s round-robin finale at CBS Arena.

Team Hasselborg third Sara McManus shot a game-high 86 per cent on her 28th birthday.

“Of course, it’s always nice to make the playoffs without the tiebreakers and it’s a nice present,” McManus said. “It was a good game. We had fun out there and it felt like we played better this game than the last game, so that was nice. The ice felt a bit keener, so that was good.”

Hasselborg started with the hammer and converted in the second end on an open hit for a deuce. Homan had an opportunity to draw for a deuce or possibly hit for three in the third, but her last rock appeared to pick and crashed into a guard as she had to settle for the single.

An open draw for two in the fourth made it 5-1 for Hasselborg and Homan gave up a steal in the fifth when her final stone hooked into a guard. Homan was limited to a single in six and Hasselborg matched in seven.

“It’s always nice and then we can practise on getting some nice routine shots in too,” McManus said. “It’s good to get momentum early. Everyone did a great job. Some extra points for Agnes (Knochenhauer). She made some really nice shots today.”

Team Carey, from Calgary, scored two in the eighth to clip Edmonton’s Team Kelsey Rocque 6-5 and Team Jones, of Winnipeg, topped Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., 5-4.

“We were laughing because this is our first time finishing better than 2-2 at a Slam as a team,” Carey said. “We snuck into some playoffs but we always had to do it through tiebreakers or on draw-to-the-button or whatever. It’s nice to just have no doubt and get straight in. We can relax a little bit tonight and get ready for the game tomorrow afternoon.”

Hasselborg and Carey both finished the round-robin with 3-1 records and will square off in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Jones, who lost her first couple of games, ended pool play at 2-2 but held a superior shootout score to advance and play Scotland’s Team Eve Muirhead (3-1).

“It feels really good,” said Carey, who has won three straight heading into the playoffs. “We actually thought we played pretty well in the first game and it just didn’t go our way tied coming home without. We felt like we were close to some good stuff and we’ve gotten better with each game. They’ve been stressful on ourselves a little bit but we’ll take any win we can get.”

Carey missed the playoffs at the first couple of Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events this season but is riding momentum from a third-place finish at the Canada Cup.

“We had a good Canada Cup, so that helps,” Carey said. “That was a big turnaround that we needed. I got to work with my dad there a bit and he fixed a couple of things. I was struggling with my release in a couple of places and stuff and he helped with that.

“Just build some confidence. We needed to feel some confidence. We’re feeling much better coming into this Slam and have been able to carry that through.”

Switzerland’s Team Elena Stern went 4-0 through round-robin play with a 6-2 victory over Japan’s Team Sayaka Yoshimura.

Stern and Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul Man., who also finished 4-0, await the winners of the evening tiebreaker games between Team Robyn Silvernagle of North Battleford, Sask., vs. Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni and Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli., Man., vs. Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa.

Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat beat Team Peter de Cruz of Switzerland 7-4 in the lone men’s match on the draw. Both clubs are through with 3-1 records.

The top eight teams overall in both divisions advance to Saturday afternoon’s quarterfinals. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday evening with both finals set for Sunday.

The final round-robin men’s draw goes down at 8:30 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET) with broadcast coverage on Sportsnet and online streaming via Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: The Boost National is the third event and second major of the 2019-20 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 15 of the top men’s teams and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world. Qualification is based on the WCF World Team Ranking system. … A $300,000 combined purse is on the line, split equally between both divisions, with the winners receiving $35,000 each plus berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup in Olds, Alta. … Teams also earn points towards the Pinty’s Cup awarded to the season champions following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April.