Curling Canada – 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Strong back on track for third win

Heather Strong bounced back from a tough extra-end loss earlier in the day to battle for a 6-5 win over Sarah Koltun and her feisty Yukon/Northwest Territories team.

“Heather’s really in the zone,” said third Laura Strong about the way her skip – also her sister – is leading the team. “You know when your skip is on fire. I’ve questioned a couple of things and realized, don’t. She knows what she’s at this week.”

Heather Strong (Photo CCA/Andrew Klaver)

Heather Strong (Photo CCA/Andrew Klaver)

Koltun, the young skip from Whitehorse, has shown that she’s not afraid to play aggressively. With both teams positioning rocks all over the rings, the skips were forced into some difficult draws and angle raises to score.

“That’s how we like to play,” said Koltun after nearly stealing the win in the final end. “We definitely gamble a little bit. We usually just try to make sure I have a shot for my last one to get us out of it if we get in trouble.”

The Newfoundland and Labrador squad – the two Strongs, as well as Jessica Cunningham, Kathryn Cooper, alternate Noelle Thomas-Kennell and coach Geoff Cunningham – are off to a strong start with a 3-1 record.

“We’re pretty confident,” said the younger Strong about the team’s approach so far. “Whether you win or lose isn’t always in your control, so it’s whether you’re feeling good coming out at the broom and I think we all do.”

In other games, Val Sweeting and her team of Dana Ferguson, Joanne Courtney, Rachelle Pidherny, alternate Renée Sonnenberg and coach Taina Smiley scored three in the sixth end and stole a single in the seventh to grab the lead over Heather Smith of Nova Scotia and hold on for the 5-4 win.

Sweeting now sits tied with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Heather Strong in second place behind Rachel Homan, who remains undefeated.

New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford regrouped after a lopsided loss to Nova Scotia on Sunday morning, coming back to defeat Kesa Van Osch (Team British Columbia) in an extra end, 4-3.

“You just have to look at it as a loss is a loss and move on,” said Crawford. “This week is about building for us, and we were just thinking about moving on from this morning. It wasn’t hard to build on that game, so we just want to keep going.”

And Kim Dolan of P.E.I. earned her first win, stealing a single in the extra end to defeat Allison Ross of Quebec, 7-6.

“It feels pretty nice to get that first one,” said Dolan. “We’ve had another extra end game, and didn’t play so well this morning, so it’s nice to have that win.”

The Scotties continues with draws on Monday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (all times EST).

TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of the CCA’s Season of Champions, will provide extensive coverage of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, with 66 hours of live broadcasts scheduled.

The winner of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts will represent Canada at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice, March 15 to 23 in Saint John, N.B.

The 2014 Scotties marks the 33rd year of Kruger Products Limited’s sponsorship of the Canadian women’s championship.

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