It was supposed to be the great rematch Monday night at the Enmax Centrium. A re-run of last year’s gut-clencher at Charlottetown where Amber Holland threw a monkey wrench into Jennifer Jones’s hopes for a record-tying fourth straight Scotties championship.
But the suspense started to seep out of this one on the sixth end when Manitoba second Jill Officer stumbled while sweeping Jones’s last takeout attempt against two Team Canada stones. Officer fouled the shooter and left the opposition with a vital steal of two.
It was a definite game-turner. The issue was square at 1-1 at the time.
“That’s curling,” said Jones, “and there’s nobody else I’d want to have sweeping my rocks than Jill.”
Holland stole another single in the seventh, then after yielding two in the eighth, scored on a nose raise-takeout in the ninth to score three and settled the issue at 7-3 after Jones sailed her last rock harmlessly through the rings.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Holland of the burned rock. “I think Jen had the shot made but the rock was burned and that’s what happens.
“I think the biggest thing for us was that we put a really good game together.”
Holland, who outpointed her opponent 88-64 in shooting percentages. The team score was closer, 83-81 in favour of Manitoba.(Continued Below…)
Draw 8 Photos
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“We played better and executed better than we did in the last one,” added the defending champion. “That was as much a moral victory as what happened on the board.
“We just wanted to get a good feel for the ice and be confident in what we were doing.”
It wasn’t the best night for seconds. Team Canada lost Tammy Schneider in the second end when she retired with knee pain and was replaced by alternate Jolene Campbell.
“Call it a lower body injury,” quipped Holland. “We’ll have to get it checked out. We don’t want to re-injure anything. I haven’t really got the full story on it yet.”
The victory catapulted Team Canada back to the top of the heap in a 4-1 tie with British Columbia’s Kelly Scott who miscued on a last-rock draw on outside ice to sit two with Nova Scotia’s Heather Smith-Dacey requiring a pair for the win.
The miss left Smith-Dacey with a kill for the deuce and she connected for the 8-7 decision, B.C.’s first loss of the piece.
The B.C. team remained without third Sasha Carter who was stricken the night previous with what Scott assessed Monday night as the 24-hour ‘flu.
Said Smith-Dacey (2-3), last year’s bronze medallist who’s now on a two-game winning streak:
“We had some tough luck on the weekend and we weren’t putting enough back-to-back shots together. We’ve had some talks. It’s just about believing and trusting and knowing that we can do it and that it’s still in our hands.”
Elsewhere, Michelle Englot’s Saskatchewan flatlanders clobbered rookie Tracy Horgan (2-3) of Ontario 10-3 and Rebecca Atkinson’s New Bruswickers upended homestanding Heather Nedohin (2-3) of Edmonton 8-5.
“It’s nice to get one under our belts that we controlled from start to finish,” said Englot, who earlier suggested “an easy one” would be a nice change for her team which had survived numerous close calls.(Continued Below…)
Draw 8 Media Scrum
“It was a great game for us, especially bouncing back from (a tough loss to Kim Dolan of P.E.I.) this afternoon.
“We lost one there that we shouldn’t have and you don’t want to get to the point where your back is to the wall. We knew it was time to pick it up and play strong from start to finish and we did that. It was nice to have that solid game.”
Saskatchewan got off to a 3-0 start, upped the ante to 5-1 after four ends and blew the Sudbury team away.
Alberta led the Herringchokers 3-2 after four but the black-and-gold tacked three points on the board in the fifth end, stole a critical point in the eighth and maintained control to the finish.
“We’ve been trying the last few games to get a little more consistent,” said Oromocto skip Rebecca Atkinson who has veteran Andrea Kelly tossing the last boulders.
“I think we’ve brought our level up a little closer to where we wanted to be and the results are starting to show.
“We’ve been adjusting. We’re not fortunate enough to always play on ice with so much swing, and it takes a while to figure out the curl and the break and what the rocks are going to do and throwing the right weight. There are some things we don’t typically have to deal with on our home ice. It isn’t anything different that all teams have to go through but we’re getting a little more comfortable with it now.”
Atkinson shrugged off any significance of upsetting an Alberta team.
“We’ve always known we’re capable of playing that way but it’s a nice thing for our confidence,” she said.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick were stationed one game off the pace at 3-and-2 heading into Tuesday morning’s Draw Nine that will feature a Manitoba-Nova Scotia fixture along with a Saskatchewan-New Brunswick tiff.
Everyone else in the field was at 2-3 with the exception of Newfoundland’s Heather Strong who trailed the pack at 1-4.