With boisterous Saskatchewan fans roaring encouragement and blowing horns in the background, Regina’s Michelle Englot is quickly becoming known as the Comeback Queen at the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts.
Englot and her team of Lana Vey, Roberta Materi and Sara Slywka bounced back from deficit Sunday morning to win their second straight such outing, 10-7, by hammering a crushing four-ender on the board in the ninth end against Newfoundland’s winless Heather Strong.
The Saskatchewan entry was required to rally for its first win, too. It defeated Nova Scotia’s Heather Smith-Dacey 7-5 on Saturday night.
“Lana (third Vey) made two great draws and we got mine in there and her’s probably turned out as badly as it possibly could for her,” said Englot of the result plucked out of crowded rock-strewn rings in the ninth.
Said Strong with a shrug:
“You can’t win here if you can’t get your rocks in front of the teeline.”
Saskatchewan is quickly being noted as no easy target.
“This was good for us after battling back and finally getting control of the game,” said Englot.
“We have to be starting a little bit quicker because that’s not always going to happen against the top teams. But when we get down early, our attitude has always been, never give up. It’s a long game and with the free guard zone you can always get lots of things happening.”(Continued Below…)
Draw 3 Photos
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At the same time, Englot admitted she wouldn’t mind getting involved in a less-stressful encounter.
“I’m not going to lie,” said the seven-time provincial champ with a big grin, “an easy one would be nice.”
Heading into today’s fourth round, Saskatchewan and Manitoba’s four-time Canadian champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg top the standings with 2-and-0 records.
Manitoba outpointed Kim Dolan (1-2) of Prince Edward Island 9-8 in Draw Three while Kerry Galusha’s Territories team rebounded from a Saturday-night loss to stun Heather Smith-Dacey of Nova Scotia 10-5 and New Brunswick’s Rebecca Atkinson of Oromocto won her first, 8-7 over Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche.
There was abundant granite in play across the sheets with Manitoba and the Islanders swapping aggressive moves.
“Both teams played aggressive and that will happen, there’ll be a lot of points on the board,” said Jones. “It’s always fun to play P.E.I. because they play that way and you know you’re always going to have lots of rocks in play which is great.”
The teams swapped deuces, then three-enders before the Buffalo Gang stole singles in the fifth and sixth ends to grab control.
Galusha’s Polars were back on track, taking over their debate with a three in the sixth end after trailing 5-4. And, for the second straight outing, the winless Bluenosers seemed to fall apart and yielded subsequent steals of a single, then a deuce.
“I was back to my old self,” said the Yellowknife skip who won a car in the Ford Hot Shots skills competition on Saturday.
“I had a good sleep last night, a good rest. This morning we just focused a lot better as a team. We have to keep up our play that way. We still have unforced errors out there. Lots of them. If we get that solved we can compete with any team out there.”(Continued Below…)
Draw 3 Media Scrum
Galusha admitted after much coaxing that her team had made a goal prior to the start of competition of finishing the round robin with a personal-best 7-and-4 record.
New Brunswick’s Andrea Kelly, who throws last rocks while rookie Atkinson handles the teehead calls, clicked with a precise shot for a go-ahead three in the ninth end to unsettle the Quebeckers.
“It was pretty undecided until the ninth end when Andrea made a great last shot,” admitted Atkinson.
In today’s fourth draw at 1:30 p.m. MT, Saskatchewan plays two-time champion Kelly Scott of British Columbia while New Brunswick tackles defending champion Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., Smith-Dacey goes against Ontario rookie Tracy Horgan of Sudbury and Manitoba’s Jones collides with Heather Nedohin’s Alberta entry from Edmonton.