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Tightly bunched field in chase for Scotties playoff berths

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – Defending champion Jennifer Jones and Team Canada rolled to a fifth straight win Wednesday evening, but they remain just one of nine teams still chasing playoff spots in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Through 13 round-robin draws – there are four remaining – no team has really separated itself from the pack. Chelsea Carey of Alberta tried, but after a 6-0 run has lost two of her last three — still good enough to sit atop the standings at 7-2.

Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Jennifer Clark-Rouire and coach Wendy Morgan kept cruising Wednesday evening at Revolution Place with a straightforward 10-3 win over Marie-France Larouche of Quebec (4-4; St-Romuald).

Canada scored two in the second end and stole three in the third when Larouche came up light on an attempted raise. Canada was never threatened after that en route to taking over sole possesion of second place at 6-2.

“It’s nice to see we managed to put some good shots together, got the lead early and never were in jeopardy of giving up a big end,” said Jones, who wasn’t surprised so many teams are still chasing playoff spots with just four draws left.

“I suspected it was going to be a good event and a lot of the teams are playing really well,” she said. “All of the teams we played have played great against us so I’m not surprised.”

Another team on a bit of a roll is Kerri Einarson of Manitoba. The East St. Paul foursome scored three in the second and three in the eight to beat Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (Thunder Bay) 9-6 to leave both teams at 5-3.

“There could be some tiebreakers, I think,” said Einarson, who beat Alberta 11-7 in the afternoon.

“That’s just how good this field is and how great all the teams are. Just shows not one particular team is standing out. But our plan is we just need to win out.”

Manitoba's Kerri Einarson enjoyed a two-win Wednesday at the Scotties. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson enjoyed a two-win Wednesday at the Scotties. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Jenn Hanna of Ontario (Ottawa) scored two in the sixth and hung on to nip Sylvie Robichaud of New Brunswick (3-5; Moncton) to stay alive with a 4-4 record.

“I’m not surprised, not with this field,” Hanna said of the tightly bunched standings. “And because there were some unexpected wins on one side or the other. So we’re certainly in a spot where we’re not out of it.

“I think going into the last draw it would be really neat if there still a bunch of teams in the hunt, it makes it more exciting. Let’s make a million tiebreakers.”

In the other late game, Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown) evened her record at 4-4 to stay alive with a 6-4 win over Karla Thompson of B.C. (1-7; Kamloops).

There are three draws Thursday at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. (all times Mountain).

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.