GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — Pierre Charette has been gaining a new appreciation for arguably the finest female curler his home province of Quebec has ever produced.
Charette is at the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts coaching Marie-France Larouche’s Quebec foursome — a 6-5 winner on Tuesday morning at Revolution Place over Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson — for the first time. Larouche’s long-time coach, and father, Camil stepped away from coaching the team prior to this season.
“Honestly, it’s the way she calls the game — she calls a really, really good game,” said Charette. “At provincials, I went three games and never thought about calling a timeout. A lot of times, I find myself thinking, ‘Geez, I’d take a little more ice here,’ and then she moves the broom, like she’s reading my mind.”
Charette could only watch on Tuesday morning as the Quebec team — Larouche is backed up by third Brenda Nichols, second Annie Lemay, lead Julie Rainville and alternate Amélie Blais — scrapped its way to victory against Manitoba, with Larouche making an open hit for a game-winning deuce in the 10th end to improve to 3-2. Manitoba, meanwhile, dropped to 2-3.
“Honestly, Marie-France didn’t play her best game, but the team hung in there,” said Charette, who has a busy few weeks in front of him. Following the Scotties, he heads to the Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa as the alternate for Jean-Michel Ménard’s Quebec men’s team, and, oh yes, he’ll be inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame on March 9 in Ottawa.
“It was a grinding win, but it was an important win, and I think she’ll bounce back really well this afternoon (against Nova Scotia’s Jill Brothers). “We only scored in three ends, and it’s tough to win a game like that, but we pulled it off. She grinded — she’s one hell of a player.”
In the other morning games, Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville (Thunder Bay) improved to 4-1 with a wild 10-8 win over Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt (2-3; Charlottetown) that featured P.E.I. taking four in the first end before Northern Ontario assumed control with a steal of four in the sixth end.
Elsewhere, Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones (3-2; Winnipeg) moved past the .500 mark with a 10-6 win over New Brunswick’s Sylvie Robichaud (1-4; Moncton); and Ontario’s Jenn Hanna (2-3; Ottawa) stole one in the 10th end for a 6-5 win over B.C.’s Karla Thompson (1-4; Kamloops).
Alberta’s Chelsea Carey (5-0; Calgary), Saskatchewan’s Jolene Campbell (3-2; Regina), Nova Scotia (3-2; Halifax) and Newfoundland/Labrador’s Stacie Curtis (1-4; St. John’s) all had byes in the morning draw.
The 2016 Scotties continues on Tuesday with draws at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (all times MST).
For ticket and other event information, visit http://www.curling.ca/2016scotties/tickets/
For the complete schedule, go to http://www.curling.ca/2016scotties/draw-schedule/
TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016scotties/?lang=fr