She’s the only two-time champ. She’s the defending champ. She’s the only undefeated skip heading into today’s final qualifying rounds at the Arena. Her team currently is riding a 16-game winning streak.
Shannon Kleibrink joins two other familiar faces destined to battle it out for weekend playoff berths following Day Two qualifying action Thursday.
Jammed in one of two round-robin qualifying pools from which playoff teams will emerge are Kleibrink, Canadian champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg and Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon.
Kleibrink remained the lone unbeaten women’s skip following an 11-5 afternoon thrashing of Lawton, keyed by a critical hogline violation charged to the Saskatoon skip in the fourth end.
Jones matched Lawton’s 3-and-1 record with an 11-3 late-shift spanking of Krista McCarville’s entry, knocking the Thunder Bay skip from the unbeaten ranks.
For the third time in four matches, Jones cracked a first-end multiple count. It was her second first-end four-spot in two games. She nailed Chelsea Carey for an opening four in the first round and, next time out, hit for three for starters against Shelley Nichols.
“We’re no more aggressive in the first end than normal,” Jones said. “We’ve been making some shots and it helps to have the hammer. We just like to get rocks in play if we can.”
Kleibrink was gifted a free draw for three points and a 5-2 lead against Lawton, who also was unbeaten going in.
Lawton faced a pair and was attempting a hit-and-roll behind over with her last rock when the hogline rule cancelled the shot.
“We feel rather charmed right now,” said Kleibrink, Canada’s 2006 Olympic skip and the Trials runner-up a year ago.
“That fourth end tipped the scale. It gave us three out of nowhere. It was unfortunate for her. A total turning point. It could have been a totally different game.”
Kleibrink said the incident afforded her team a “huge” advantage.
“When we get a lead like that, we have one of the better hitting front ends,” she said.
“We’re probably not going to miss a peel unless something bizarre happens. It is not often that Bronwen (second Webster) will ever miss a peel. So if we can get ahead, we can usually peel out.”
Kleibrink predicted more than one loss in her five-team qualifying pool likely will deny a team a place in the playoffs.
The Calgary skip faces Shelley Nichols (0-4) of St. John’s and
Jones in her final qualifying matches today.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Jones bowed 7-2 to Lawton in the morning while Carey (1-2) dumped Nichols and Amber Holland (2-and-1) of Kronau, Sask., defeated Kelly Scott (0-4) of Kelowna 8-5. Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard of Calgary (2-and-1) ditched Nichols (0-4) 7-4 in the afternoon and Edmonton’s Heather Nedohin (1-2) scored a 10th-end deuce to prolong Scott’s winless streak.
“This is a tough field, the money is good and you don’t want to pile up many losses,” said Bernard, who finished the day tied atop her pool with Holland and McCarville.
“We’re just getting settled and feeling comfortable, but we have two tough ones ahead.”
Those opponents will be Nedohin and Holland. But the key last-day match — Jones-Kleibrink — is saved for 6 p.m. tonight.