The four top teams at the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts faced off against one another on Wednesday afternoon at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ont., fighting for position at the top of the standings. When the dust settled, it was Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones and Ontario’s Rachel Homan sharing the 7-0 record.
Team Canada’s Heather Nedohin faced Jones, while Homan, also 6-0, took on Saskatchewan’s Jill Shumay (4-2), sitting in fourth place and trying to hold off Suzanne Birt of PEI, who is riding a three-game winning streak.
In the battle of the undefeated, Manitoba started slowly over Team Canada, with both teams missing the precision rock placement that has marked their games so far. But Jones cranked it up, curling 88 percent through the first five ends and taking a 3-1 lead into the break.
Nedohin responded with a deuce in six, but Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin kept Team Canada chasing. Trailing 6-5, Nedohin forced Jones to make a perfect draw to the button for the 8-5 win.
“I thought it was a well-curled game by both teams,” said Jones. “We made some big shots when we had to, and we made enough shots to win the game.”
The confidence of the Manitoba team continues to grow, and Jones said that playing tight games can only help as the playoffs approach.
“It was nice to be in a tight game from start to finish, to see how we performed,” she said. “We needed to make some big shots and we did, so that’s always a confidence booster. It’s always great to have a last shot to win.”
In the other meeting of top teams, Ontario controlled the play from the outset against Saskatchewan. Homan applied constant pressure to a Saskatchewan team that just couldn’t get rocks in scoring position. Jill Shumay and her foursome of Kara Johnston, Taryn Holtby and Jinaye Ayrey struggled to match the firepower of Homan, who shot 90 percent through the first five ends. Ontario put the game away in the eighth end with a score of four for an 8-2 win.
“We have a lot of confidence right now,” said Lisa Weagle, Ontario lead. “We’re making a lot of shots, we’re playing well as a team. Everything’s working well right now.”
In other action Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt showed why she is now tied for fourth in the standings, posting a 7-6 win over Kerry Galusha from Northwest Territories/Yukon on a last rock draw; New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford kept her playoff hopes alive with an 10-7 win over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Stacie Devereaux.
The Scotties continues on Wednesday with Draw 11 at 7 p.m., and Thursday with draws at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (all times EST). All draws are being broadcast by TSN/RDS, the official broadcast partner of the Season of Champions.
Live scoring, statistics and updated standings are available at http://www.curling.ca/championships/scotties/draw-schedule/scores-and-standings/