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Team Canada and Team Alberta both stay undefeated

Jennifer Jones counted four in the sixth, and Valerie Sweeting rang up six of her own in the sixth end, as Team Canada and Alberta both stayed undefeated through two games during Sunday morning’s third draw at the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Essar Centre.

Jones’s two-time defending Scotties champions from Winnipeg’s St. Vital Curling Club edged New Brunswick 5-4. Team Canada (2-0) is tied atop Scotties standings with Alberta (2-0), which scored a runaway 13-2 victory over previously undefeated Prince Edward Island.

In Sunday morning’s other action, British Columbia (1-1) and Manitoba (1-1) both chalked up their first wins of the tournament, with Kelly Scott’s Kelowna outfit squeaking past the Territories 7-6 and Jill Thurston’s Winnipeg quartet downing Nova Scotia 7-3.

Jones’s big score gave Team Canada a 4-2 advantage over New Brunswick in the sixth. Andrea Kelly’s foursome from the Capital Curling Club hung tough, though, counting singles in the seventh and ninth ends, and the game was only decided when the New Brunswick skip missed a take-out on the button with her final stone of the 10th.

“We had to fight hard to win that one. All game, they played great. They played really well,” said Jones in praise of her opponents from New Brunswick (0-3). “We were getting some chances, and then they would make a good double to get out of it.

“They made every freeze. When they got in trouble, they’d make a double. It was a tough game, and we came through in the end. It was a fun game to play . . . the kind that keeps you on your toes.”

Sweeting’s young Alberta foursome, meanwhile, pounded the Islanders (2-1) with that six-ender in the sixth and stole four more in the seventh when Erin Carmody’s final rock sailed through the house.

Prior to Alberta’s big score, the two squads had been locked in a 3-2 struggle through five.

“I didn’t really plan on (a six-ender). Erin made a nice little runback and took ours out, but unfortunately for her, the way the rocks were left, it opened up a short little runback double (takeout) for us,” said Sweeting, 22, who had four rocks in the house surrounding P.E.I.’s deuce in the four-foot.

“Both teams were playing pretty good. We both missed a few chances as well. But we really came together in the sixth end, and luckily we had that little runback for six. It was a team shot – the girls pounded it all the way down.”

Scott, the 2006 and 2007 Scotties champion, rebounded from a 6-5 loss to Sweeting on Saturday night. B.C. scored three in the fourth and two more in the seventh for a 7-2 advantage, then held on as Sharon Cormier’s Yellowknife team (1-2) clawed back with a deuce in the eighth, and singles in the ninth and tenth. Scott erased one of two Territories counters with her final stone to end the comeback threat.

“We had a good game. We had to be patient. When you get up early like that, you don’t want to gamble too hard to close out the game and give them opportunities in doing so,” said Scott. “We were trying to hit and eliminate their opportunities.

“They made some real key shots, there, to keep things close right till the end.”

Thurston’s squad from Winnipeg’s Deer Lodge Curling Club also showed some resiliency after a 10-5 loss to Jones on Saturday night.

Manitoba stole a pair in the fifth end during a pivotal moment in Sunday morning’s match, going up 5-1 and never looking back.

“(Saturday) night, the ice was completely different than it had been in practice, and again in the Hot Shots (competition) in the afternoon. We definitely got fooled by the draw weight,” said Thurston. “But today, it was the same as it has been. We really felt comfortable out there.

“The fifth (end) was huge. We really put the pressure on them, and (Nova Scotia skip Nancy McConnery) didn’t really have much of a shot. We knew we were going to steal one, maybe two,” added Thurston.

“That’s what we have to do – continue to put pressure on teams, and make them make some big shots.”
Sunday’s fourth draw, which begins at 3 p.m. ET, pits Canada against the Amber Holland-led Saskatchewan outfit (0-1); B.C. against Quebec (1-0), led by Eve Belisle; Manitoba versus Newfoundland/Labrador (1-0), helmed by Shelley Nichols; and Alberta against the host Ontario squad (1-0), led by Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay.