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Northern Ontario moves closer to goal

Tracy Horgan of Northern Ontario will play in the final of the pre-qualifying round at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Northern Ontario skip Tracy Horgan, left, assesses the situation as Yukon skip Sarah Koltun looks on. (Photo, CCA/Andrew Klaver)

Northern Ontario skip Tracy Horgan, left, assesses the situation as Yukon skip Sarah Koltun looks on. (Photo, CCA/Andrew Klaver)

Horgan defeated Sarah Koltun of Yukon 7-5 in a well-played game on Friday morning to punch her ticket to the final. That game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Horgan will meet the winner of Friday afternoon’s game between Koltun and Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories. Horgan defeated Galusha 10-5 on Thursday night.

Against Koltun, Horgan took a lead she wouldn’t relinquish with a deuce on the fifth end and a game-changing steal of two on the sixth.

There were some anxious moments for the Northern Ontario team though. Up 5-2 playing seven, Horgan got herself in a pickle, with Yukon counting three for much of the end. A nifty hit and roll by the Sudbury skip helped cut Koltun to two.

After Horgan scored two on eight to restore her three-point lead, Koltun put the pressure back on in the ninth with some good work using a corner guard. Horgan hit her way out of trouble to force Koltun to one.

Horgan was happy to be in the winner-take-all game.

“We are looking forward to playing in the pre-qualifier final on Saturday,” she said. “We feel good about that game we just played. We stepped it up a bit from last night.”

She was impressed with the Koltun team.

“They played fantastic. I thought it was a really well-played game.”

Horgan has her sister, Jenn Horgan, at third, Jenna Enge at second and Amanda Gates at lead. It is the first time Northern Ontario has participated at the Scotties.

Koltun thought her team played well.

“The difference was an inch here and an inch there. It is good to build confidence because we did feel really good out there. Just the scoreboard didn’t really show it.”

Koltun said the steal of two on the sixth end was the turning point.

“We were trying to bail. We knew we were in some trouble. We missed those run backs by an inch on either side. It was unfortunate. That was the difference maker I think.”

Koltun has only four hours to prepare for Galusha.

“It is kind of nice to know we control our fate in the next game,” Koltun said. “It will be a close game. They are a strong team and want it just as bad as we do. We have to come out and give it everything, and hopefully we will come out on the winning end this time.”

Koltun is backed by third Chelsea Duncan, second Patty Wallingham and lead Jenna Duncan.

For ticket and other event information, visit http://www.curling.ca/2015scotties-en/

For the complete schedule, go to http://www.curling.ca/2015scotties-en/draw-schedule/

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for the CCA’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2015scotties-fr/