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Scotties playoff spots still up for grabs

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – After 16 draws it will all come down to Friday morning’s final draw of the round robin to determine the playoff teams for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

There are only two certainties.

One, Chelsea Carey and her Alberta team, which finished 9-2 after escaping with a 6-5 win over Jolene Campbell of Saskatchewan (6-5; Regina) Thursday evening, will play in Friday night’s Page 1-2 playoff game as the top seed.

Two, Jennifer Jones and Team Canada, 8-2 after their 7-4 win over Jenn Hanna of Ontario (5-5; Ottawa), will advance. But they could be in the 1-2 game or the 3-4 game, depending on the results of the final draw.

The rest depends on what Kerri Einarson of Manitoba (6-4; East St. Paul) does in her final game against New Brunswick (2-8; Moncton). Einarson stole two in the first end and added three in the third to beat Suzanne Birt of P.E.I. (4-6; Charlottetown) 8-7 Thursday evening at Revolution Place.

A Manitoba win in the morning and she advances to the Page 3-4 game, but a loss brings three teams – Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia – back into the mix for possible tiebreakers.

Campbell had at least a tiebreaker spot in her hands with the final stone of her game but lost it when her stone rolled out on a hit-and-stick attempt. That let Alberta steal one for the win and left Campbell in tears long after the game.

“I feel for her,” said Carey, who clinched first place in the round robin with the victory. “I feel like we didn’t get a lot of breaks in that game overall. But then, well obviously nobody wants to win like that, we hurt for her.

“You take it but would we have liked to have won in a more we-won fashion.”

Jones, the defending champion, definitely won in a positive fashion. Her Winnipeg foursome scored two in the first end, two more in the fourth and stole singles in the fifth and sixth.

“I’m feeling we’re playing well,” said Jones. “We’re making big shots when we have to … and getting better each game.

Team Canada lead Dawn McEwen delivers her rock during Thursday night's win. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Team Canada lead Dawn McEwen delivers her rock during Thursday night’s win. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

“We’re getting rocks in good spots and the girls are playing well in front of me. Trying to make our opponents shots as tough as we can and it’s working for us.”

In the other Thursday night game, Nova Scotia’s Jill Brothers (6-5; Halifax) kept her tiebreaker hopes alive with a 7-4 win over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Stacie Curtis (3-8; St. John’s).

The top four teams make the Page playoff round. The first and second place teams play Friday at 6:30 p.m. (all times MT) and the winner gets where a berth in Sunday’s gold-medal game. The third- and fourth-place teams meet Saturday at 1:30 p.m., with the winner moving onto the semifinal Saturday night at 6:30. The loser of the three-four game will play the semifinal loser in the bronze-medal game on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Not playing in the evening draw were Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (7-3; Thunder Bay), Marie-France Larouche of Quebec (4-6; St-Romuald), Karla Thompson of B.C. (2-8; Kamloops) and Sylvie Robichaud of New Brunswick (2-8; Moncton).

The final draw is Friday at 8:30 a.m. with a tiebreaker, if necessary, at 1:30 p.m. (all times 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