PICTOU COUNTY, N.S. — A sharp start and a solid finish were all Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones needed to brush past Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan in the KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge.
Team Jones scored four in the first and stole four in the seventh to earn a 10-4 victory during Thursday night’s round-robin action.
Both teams hold 2-1 round-robin records with one game remaining each in pool play Friday as they search to secure direct entry into the weekend playoffs.
“We’ve been playing well,” Team Jones second Jocelyn Peterman said. “We had a couple of tough shots in the (Kelsey) Rocque game but overall, it’s been a pretty good week for us. I’m feeling good, feeling pretty confident and comfortable with the ice and that’s always good.”
Third Kaitlyn Lawes helped the team get out to a fast start by covering the pin in the draw-to-the-button shootout to lock down the hammer. Homan missed a double on her first skip stone and came up short of the house on her freeze attempt with her last, allowing Jones to capitalize and draw for four points in the opening stanza.
“It’s always good to start strong and that’s been a big goal for us this year, actually,” Peterman said. “It’s been good to start the game off with some precise draws. Sometimes it’s not always easy, so it’s good to check that off the list.”
The night was still young and the 10-time Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title winner Homan is one you can never count out.
“No lead is comfortable,” Peterman said. “They’re such a great team, so we definitely didn’t feel like the game was over. It was only the first end.”
Sure enough, after Homan settled for a single in the second, she managed to narrow the gap down to 4-3 in the third by stealing a pair as Jones came up short on a draw.
That was as close as she’d get, however, as the teams traded singles back-and-forth in four and five, Jones added another in six and then turned up the heat in seven sitting five stones in the house. Homan attempted a draw but came up light and tight to only outcount one of them.
“We had a lot of rocks in play, so definitely had some pressure on her in the last end,” Peterman said.
Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni had a monster day at the office to climb to 3-0 and clinch a berth in the quarterfinals. After downing Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg 8-1 in the afternoon, the reigning world champions ran up the scoreboard again in the evening cruising past Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., 9-1.
“A day like this doesn’t happen every day,” Tirinzoni said with a smile. “We play great teams and we expect games to go over eight ends at least and it seems like our opponents didn’t have their best day today, so I’m really glad that we had an easy day today.”
She added: “We try not to look forward too much and just play rock by rock. … I think that’s the best way to keep winning.”
Team Scheidegger (0-2) are without their skip this week as she is expecting her second child and 2008 Players’ Championship winner Amber Holland is filling in.
Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa took two in the extra end to edge Edmonton’s Team Kelsey Rocque 8-6.
Fujisawa moved up to 2-1 while Rocque wrapped up round-robin play early with a 2-2 record and will have to wait until the conclusion of group play Friday to find out her fate.
Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is on track climbing to a 2-1 record following a 6-3 victory over Team Yannick Schwaller of Switzerland.
Team Jacobs shot 88 per cent as a unit in their first game Wednesday against Team Brendan Bottcher but ran into a red-hot skip shooting a perfect 100 during the 9-4 decision. The defending KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge champion Jacobs doubled up on Team Jason Gunnlaugson 6-3 in Thursday’s early afternoon draw.
“We actually played pretty good against Brendan, just had one bad end and he played great,” Team Jacobs third Marc Kennedy said. “I think we felt pretty good about the way we were playing.
“Came out with a good day, got a few uncharacteristic misses from Gunner this morning, which obviously helped, but we’re just trying to build some momentum, play well and get a good feel for the ice. All in all, a good day.”
Schwaller exits pool play a day early and heads home winless at 0-4.
Gunnlaugson, from Winnipeg, improved to a 2-1 record downing Team Matt Dunstone of Regina 7-2. Dunstone, fresh off of winning his first career GSOC title at the Masters, slipped to a 1-2 mark and is on the brink of elimination.
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.
Both quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with the finals set for Sunday.
Tier 2 results
- Fournier 8, S. Thompson 3
- Sturmay 3, Horgan 2
- Van Dorp 6, Muyres 5
- Duncan 5, Kim 2
- Birt 9, Jentsch 1
Round-robin action continues Friday at 8 a.m. AT at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
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.