With undefeated Team Canada sitting comfortably at the top of the standings, other teams at the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts are beginning to line up behind the leaders – and that includes Val Sweeting of Alberta, who defeated Heather Strong of Newfoundland and Labrador 9-5 to stay close.
On Wednesday morning, Strong and her team from the Baly Haly Country Club in St. John’s were unable to stop the surging Albertans – Val Sweeting, Joanne Courtney, Dana Ferguson, Rachelle Pidherny, alternate Renée Sonnenberg and coach Taina Smiley – who scored three in the fifth end and stole two more ends.
Strong tried to put some pressure on in the eighth. Trailing 9-2, she made a delicate tap back to score three. It wasn’t enough, however, and Sweeting hit out for the win in the ninth.
“I’d say we’re getting there,” said Sweeting about the team’s strong play this morning. “I don’t think we’re 10 out of 10 yet. We had a bit of a sloppy end and gave up three, but we’ve just got to keep on getting better every game, that’s what’s important.”
New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford appears to have found her stride. She gave up a few lopsided games earlier in the tournament, but today she and her team of Rebecca Atkinson, Danielle Parsons, Jodie DeSolla, alternate Jayne Boyle and coach Charlie Sullivan, won their third in a row. Crawford was tied with P.E.I.’s Kim Dolan in the ninth, but scored three in the final end for the 9-6 win.
Heather Smith of Nova Scotia scored three points in the ninth end to defeat the Yukon/Northwest Territories 7-3. With skip Sarah Koltun and alternate Lindsay Moldowan down with the flu, third Chelsea Duncan stepped up to skip the three-person team.
“I used to skip this team when I was 13 years old,” said Duncan after her debut at the helm. “But ever since then I haven’t skipped competitively except for a few league games here and there.”
“It was not bad, I enjoyed it out there,” she said about the game. “I tried to keep things simple, and we ended up on the bad side of things but I feel like I did an OK job out there.”
The struggles continue for Quebec’s Allison Ross. Tied 5-5 after nine, Ross had two counters on the four-foot behind cover, but B.C.’s Kesa Van Osch played a delicate tap back for the winning point.
B.C. alternate Patti Knezevic was called into action once again. On Tuesday, she skipped a three-person squad when both skip Van Osch and lead Carley Sandwith were down with the flu. Sandwith was on the bench for this game too.
“You know it can happen,” said Van Osch about the illness that reduced her team to only three players on Tuesday, and brought alternate Patti Knezevic back in to play lead on Wednesday. “That was the plan of bringing Patti in, that she’s capable of playing any position if needed.”
“It felt good to be back out there. They showed the last half of the game last night and it was so stressful,” Van Osch said about having to watch from the hotel during her illness. “I was in the background cheering ‘Go, guys! Go, go go! It was really hard.”
The Scotties continues with draws on Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (all times EST).
TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of the CCA’s Season of Champions, will provide extensive coverage of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, with 66 hours of live broadcasts scheduled.
The winner of the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts will represent Canada at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice, March 15 to 23 in Saint John, N.B.
The 2014 Scotties marks the 33rd year of Kruger Products Limited’s sponsorship of the Canadian women’s championship.
For ticket information, go to: www.curling.ca/2014scotties-en/tickets/
For schedule information, go to: www.curling.ca/2014scotties-en/draw-schedule/