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Nova Scotia beaten, but not bowed

Defending champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg cracked open a tight game with three in the fifth end and rolled to a 9-4 victory over Heather Smith-Dacey of Nova Scotia Thursday afternoon in a Scotties Tournament Of Hearts matchup that wasn’t fatal to either team.

Heather Smith-Dacey at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts(Photo: Andrew Klaver)

Jones remained in the hunt for a second-place round-robin finish behind leader Saskatchewan, moving the Team Canada record to 7-3, while Nova Scotia slipped to 7-4 but was assured of at least a tiebreaker playoff a the completion of preliminary action tonight at 7:30 (AT).

Smith-Dacey has the night off while Jones goes against Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink in what is essentially a playoff match. Kleibrink (6-4) cannot afford to lose. A loss for Jones will drop her into a possible five-way tie at 7-and-4 but Jones, in that case, would be awarded second place based on her team’s record against the other four teams involved.

This, of course, would depend on the outcome of two other final-round games — Ontario vs. Quebec and Saskatchewan vs. British Columbia.

Ontario’s Rachel Homan still has a shot at a second-place finish and a place with Amber Holland (9-1) of Saskatchewan in Friday night’s Page One-Two playoff. But Jones would have to lose tonight while Homan wins. Both would have to lose and B.C.’s Kelly Scott would have to defeat Saskatchewan in order to force the traffic jam of five.

In terms of ranking in case of the five-tie, Team Canada would be No. 2, Ontario No. 3, Nova Scotia No. 4, Alberta No. 5 and British Columbia No. 6.

“I thought we played well, we got our rocks in better spots,” said Jones after her win.

Going up by three in the fifth, the champs kept things open until they cracked a four in the ninth end to wrap it up.

“That was big win for us, we needed to stay in the hunt,” said Jones. “We’re not used to controlling our own destiny. It’s fun. We should try to do this more often.

“I felt good with draw weight and that’s a good position to be in as a skip. We hope to play well tonight but we know we’re in the playoffs and that makes it a little bit easier.”

Smith-Dacey gave the Jones team all the credit.

“They had an awesome game,” she allowed.  “We couldn’t get the offence going. This was coming off our four-games-in-a-row stint so we may have been a little tired.

“We came in thinking that 7-4 would be a record we could achieve in this field. Now we’re looking forward to the playoffs and whatever they bring.”

In other afternoon tussles, British Columbia’s Scott stole a 10th-end deuce to defeat New Brunswick’s Andrea Kelly of Oromocto 6-4, Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche of St-Romuald stole two in an extra end defeat Kerry Galusha of the Territories 10-8 and Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham clicked in an extra-end for an 8-7 decision against Newfoundland’s Stacie Devereaux.

Nova Scotia (7-4) and three other teams wrapped up their preliminary assignments. The Territories and New Brunswick finished 3-8 and the Manitobans were 4-7.

Trailing Saskatchewan (9-1) are Jones and Homan (7-3), Alberta and B.C. (6-4), P.E.I. (5-5), Quebec (4-6) and Newfoundland (1-9).