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Alberta rebounds in style at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — Nobody on Team Alberta was particularly pleased stepping off the ice Tuesday night at Revolution Place following a so-so day at the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The day had produced a sloppy split of two games — good enough to stay on top of the round-robin standings, but not good enough to reach the lofty standards of skip Chelsea Carey, vice-skip Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor and coach Charley Thomas.

Wednesday morning, it was a different story. The Calgarians shook off an early steal of two by Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche (4-3; St-Romuald), and took over in the back half of the game for a 6-4 win to improve to 7-1 and remain in sole possession of top spot in the 12-team standings.

“I’m really proud of the way the team responded today,” said Nixon, the 2006 Olympic bronze-medallist and 2008 Scotties silver-medallist while playing third with Shannon Kleibrink. “None of us was really happy after last night, but we had some good talks after the game and this morning, and I thought we showed some real character today. Quebec stole the deuce, they made a couple 20-foot runbacks and stuck the shots, but we didn’t let it get to us. That’s a great thing about our team.”

The win, combined with Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville (5-2; Thunder Bay) falling 6-5 to Saskatchewan’s Jolene Campbell (5-3; Regina), left Alberta two wins clear of the field. The top four teams will advance to the Page playoffs, which begin on Friday.

But, said Nixon, there’s still work to do before Alberta starts thinking about the playoffs.

Nova Scotia's Teri Udle and Jill Brothers. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Nova Scotia’s Teri Udle and Jill Brothers. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

“I have a (pre-game) draw to the button to make in a couple hours,” said Nixon with a smile. “That’s all I’m thinking about right now.”

Saskatchewan moved into the playoff picture thanks to its stolen win over Northern Ontario. Campbell and Co. engineered a game-tying deuce in the ninth end, and then watched as McCarville’s last-rock draw to bite the four-foot for the win was heavy.

Also coming up with a crucial win was Nova Scotia’s Jill Brothers (5-3; Halifax). Brothers made a short angle-runback takeout in the 10th end to nail down an 8-7 win over New Brunswick’s Sylvie Robichaud (1-6; Moncton).

In the other Wednesday morning game, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Stacie Curtis (2-6; St. John’s) scored five deuces en route to a 10-7 win over B.C.’s Karla Thompson (1-6; Kamloops).

Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones (4-2; Winnipeg), Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson (3-3; East St. Paul), Ontario’s Jenn Hanna (3-3; Ottawa) and P.E.I.’s Suzanne Birt (2-4; Charlottetown) all had byes in the morning draw.

The 2016 Scotties continues on Wednesday 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