2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Alberta through to playoffs with a win over Manitoba

With one draw left in the round robin, Alberta’s Val Sweeting assured her team of a spot in the playoffs of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts after defeating Manitoba’s Chelsea Carey 7-4 on Thursday night at Maurice-Richard Arena.

Sweeting, who sat in fourth place coming into the evening draw, scored three in the ninth end and stole a single in the tenth to put the game away.

“We were a little tight on time so everything was rushed,” said Sweeting about her final shot of the game, which left Carey a chance for multiple points for the win. “I think if we’d had more time I would have taken a better look on my first one and then we could have capped that off and she would have only had a shot for two. We definitely took a deep breath after that one.”

Alberta lead Rachelle Pidherny (Photo CCA/Andrew Klaver)

Alberta lead Rachelle Pidherny (Photo CCA/Andrew Klaver)

In the evening’s other game with playoff implications, Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton held off B.C.’s Kesa Van Osch and also secured a spot in the playoffs with an 8-4 win. The game was close for five ends, but in the sixth, Van Osch’s final draw slid too far, giving Lawton a steal of three and a 6-2 lead, which she never relinquished.

Rachel Homan and Team Canada had no trouble controlling play over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Heather Strong. Despite trying to climb back after giving up three in the first end, Strong and her team of Laura Strong, Jessica Cunningham, Kathryn Cooper, alternate Noelle Thomas-Kennell and coach Geoff Cunningham, trailed 7-4 after seven. Canada stole two more ends for the 9-4 win.

And in the final game of Draw 16, Quebec’s Allison Ross gave the hometown fans something to cheer about in a 5-3 win over Ontario’s Allison Flaxey. Neither team is headed for playoffs, but the win helped take the sting out of a disappointing week for Ross and her team of Melissa Gannon, Brittany O’Rourke, Pamela Nugent, alternate Lisa Davies and coach Glenn Tester, who struggled on and off the ice, thanks to the flu bug that kept second O’Rourke out of action for much of the tournament.

“It kind of hurt,” said O’Rourke about having to watch from the sidelines as her team struggled. “I think we lost 15-2 against Manitoba so as much as I wanted to be out there and help them, I was stuck to my bed. It was heartbreaking.”

The crowd, including a large contingent of past Quebec curling champions, gave the team a boost, said O’Rourke.

“I loved it,” she said. “It was great having the past champions out there, and to have them cheer us on like that. All of our Glenmore Curling Club members are here. They started the wave. It was great.”

The Scotties continues Friday with the final round robin draw at 9 a.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.

For ticket information, go to: www.curling.ca/2014scotties-en/tickets/

For schedule information, go to: www.curling.ca/2014scotties-en/draw-schedule/