Winnipeg’s young Chelsea Carey team, playing out of Morden, Man., clinched a berth in the Canada Cup of Curling women’s final Friday by winning its fifth match in six starts.
Carey, 27, needed a deuce in the 10th end to conquer four-time Canadian champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg 8-7 in an afternoon tussle that completed the qualifying draw for the team of Carey, Kristy McDonald, Kristin Foster and Lindsay Titheridge
The win was only Carey’s second victory over Jones in their last seven matches.
Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink, a two-time Canada Cup champion, claimed second place in the seven-team race and matched
Carey’s 5-1 record with a last-end, come-from-behind 6-5 decision over Ottawa’s Rachel Homan on Friday night.
Carey handed Kleibrink her only defeat of the round robin. Carey’s only setback was engineered by Heather Nedohin of Edmonton.
Kleibrink, who has Amy Nixon, Bronwen Webster and Carolyn Darbyshire firing in front of her, will face the four-time Canadian champion Jones in today’s championship semi-final at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. Jones, surviving with a 3-3 record, rallied from a 2-5 deficit to defeat defending Canadian champion Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., 8-7 with a 10th-end deuce.
Jones, directing a team including Kaitlyn Lawes, Joelle Sabourin and Dawn Askin, has a history of bouncing off the floor in playoff rounds of major competitions. She has turned the trick three times in winning three straight editions of the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts.
“It was a big win,” said Jones with a sigh after the late-shift success.
“We were pretty disappointed with the loss (to Carey) this afternoon and we want to bounce back with a win. We really had to fight for that one. I’m really proud of the girls, we played well when we had to and we made enough shots to win that game.”
Holland constructed a three-point edge with three stolen points but couldn’t defend against the deuce, yielding four of them on the night.
“We got down early, we trailed, but we never give up, it was no different today and we made it good on the last end,” said Jones.
Kleibrink defeated Jones during the round robin.
“We’re going to have to come out and play lights-out in the semi-final,” Jones said. “We’ve missed some shots along the way but this is where we want to be. It wasn’t pretty sometimes but hopefully we’ll keep that momentum going. We never give up and we’ll try to keep that attitude going.”
Homan jockeyed in front 5-3 against Kleibrink but second Bronwen Webster executed two excellent shots to set up the last end for the Calgary team and, at the finish, the Ottawa team was nicked for three points and the loss.
Kleibrink admitted she normally likes to play the semi-final in a three-team playoff.
“Sometimes the ice changes late in a competition and that gives you an advantage playing in the semi-final,” she said. “But then you lose the semi and obviously you’d have rather been in the final.
“We’re getting better and better. We’re making key shots.”
Homan, Holland, Nedohin and defending champion Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon each finished with a 2-4 record.
Kleibrink eliminated Lawton 8-4 in the afternoon while Holland stole an extra end for an 8-7 win over Nedohin.
Carey made a meal of the first two ends against Jones and trailed 3-0 in the mid-day tilt. But a steal of two in the fourth turned the game around. Then Jones stole two ends in a row to turn it around again.
In the end, Jones led by one in the 10th without the hammer after being forced to take one in the ninth buts jammed a double-kill attempt with her last rock leaving Carey an open draw for the winning duet.
“Woo, that was battle of a game,” said Carey. “I personally missed a couple of terrible shots earlier and it was really back and forth. You get down 3-0 to Jennifer Jones you don’t think you’re coming back.
“My team played so great. They made a ton of shots for me every end. I missed them a couple of times and I made one at the end . . . finally. That was a massive win so we’re really excited.
“If it’s not the biggest (win in the team’s history), it would certainly be in the top two or three,” she said. “I mean, winning this thing would obviously be the biggest. A Grand Slam title we won last year is the only other one
that comes close, but this (game) was arguably as important.”
Carey’s team, relatively inexperienced compared to most of its foes in the competition, hammered Homan 9-3 in the morning while Nedohin stole an extra-end 7-6 verdict against Lawton.
“It feels good,” Carey said of taking Saturday off and awaiting a 4:30 p.m. practice.
“Any time you end up in the final, you don’t care how you do it. Winning the semi is probably the better way to get there because you’re staying game-tough and all the good stuff. But that’s the challenge.
“Had we lost we’d be playing Jennifer again in the semi so under those circumstances we’ll take the bye to the final all day long.”