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Young Saskatchewan team keeping pace at the Scotties

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – They are among the youngest and least experienced teams here, but Team Saskatchewan, skipped by Jolene Campbell, is keeping pace with the field at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Campbell, third Ashley Howard, second Callan Hamon, lead Ashley Williamson, alternate Candace Chisholm and coach Brie Jedlic, improved to 4-2 Tuesday afternoon with an 8-7 win over Karla Thompson of British Columbia (Kamloops).

“We had a rough start (losing two of their first three games),” Campbell said of her Regina foursome. “Those couple of losses we had, we didn’t play our best games, but now we’re doing what we came to do.”

 

This is Campbell’s first Scotties as a skip, although she was in three previously as an alternate with Amber Holland’s team. But she is the only member of the foursome with Scotties experience.

The team had veteran skip Russ Howard coaching them through the season, and before it came to Grande Prairie, the Campbell crew had a team meeting to discuss all the distractions the newcomers could expect.

One of the biggest distractions could have been the loss of Howard to the TSN broadcast booth and bringing in Jedlic to coach; Jedlic is a sports psychologist Campbell has worked with for seven years.

Ashley Sippala, Northern Ontario second, delivers her rock during Tuesday's win over Newfoundland/Labrador. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Ashley Sippala, Northern Ontario second, delivers her rock during Tuesday’s win over Newfoundland/Labrador. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

“It’s been a great adjustment,” Campbell said, although she said her team does miss Howard’s input during timeouts.

“We do miss Russ, but everything he taught us all season has stuck with us,” said Campbell. “We’re constantly giving each other Russ quotes throughout the game, telling each other things we know Russ would say so he’s definitely still out there on the ice with us.

“Lots of times you’re just looking for an extra opinion and Candace fills that role wonderfully.”

In other Draw 7 games at Revolution Place, Chelsea Carey of Alberta (Calgary) improved to 6-0 with a hard-fought 6-4 win over Sylvie Robichaud of New Brunswick (1-5; Moncton), Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (Thunder Bay) improved to 5-1 with a 7-4 win over Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland-Labrador (1-5; St. John’s) and Marie-France Larouche of Quebec (4-2; St. Romuald) scored two in the10th to get past Jill Brothers of Nova Scotia (3-3; Halifax).

Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones (3-2) along with three teams with 2-3 records – Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson, P.E.I.’s Suzanne Birt and Ontario’s Jenn Hanna – had the afternoon byes.

The top four teams at the conclusion of the preliminary round Friday advance to the Page playoff. Ties for fourth are solved by tiebreaker games.

The winner of Sunday’s final represents Canada at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, March 19-27 in Swift Current, Sask., and wears the Maple Leaf at next year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines, Ont.

Should the Scotties champs win a medal at the Ford Worlds, they will also secure a berth into the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Ottawa.

Today’s final draw is at 6:30 p.m. MT.

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/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016scotties/?lang=fr

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.

About John Korobanik