Nova Scotia’s Denise Fitzgerald and her rink emerged victorious in a key battle at the 2016 Travelers Curling Club Championship on Wednesday morning.
The team from the Lakeshore Curling Club in Lower Sackville, N.S., delivered Ontario their first loss in the women’s Pool A play. The Nova Scotia squad is the only women’s team without a loss.
“The experience is surreal. We’re just going to roll with how we’ve been playing and let the scoreboards take care of themselves,” Fitzgerald, a critical care nurse, said after her fourth win at the Kelowna Curling Club.
Fitzgerald, who throws lead rocks but skips the team, Abby Miller at second, Mary Porter throwing third and Michelle Williams throwing the fourth stones have curled together for four years.Fitzgerald credits team chemistry for getting them this far.
“There have been highs and lows and getting to know each other over the years but we’re friends first and then curlers.”
Ontario faced immense pressure through the middle of the game with Nova Scotia stacking rocks in the house. At the fourth end break the two previously undefeated rinks were locked at three points each. The second half of the game was relatively defensive for both teams.
Ontario was setting up the tying two points until Williams, on her first rock, pulled off a cross house double. O’Neill’s first rock slipped through the house in the eighth end, leading to handshakes in the morning draw.
Ontario, skipped by Julie O’Neill, third Lisa Jones, second Susan Cully and lead Tracy Hiddink, fall to 3-1.
Alberta’s Morgan Muise defeated B.C. to improve to 2-1.
In women’s Pool B, Northern Ontario’s Kelli Stevenson-Beda delivered Manitoba’s women’s champions their first loss of the Travelers. Tracy Andries moved to 3-1, while Northern Ontario improves to 1-2.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Susan Curtis is keeping pace with the Manitoba champions thanks to another win over Prince Edward Island on Wednesday morning. The Cornerbrook, N.L., team sits at 3-1 after Draw 4.
Quebec’s Nathalie Gagnon was idle on Wednesday morning but also remains in the playoff hunt with a 2-1 record in Pool B.
Three men’s rinks have perfect records after four draws in Kelowna. Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario all moved to 3-0 thanks to morning wins at the event.
The 14 men’s and 14 women’s teams are split into two seven-team round-robin pools. After a single round-robin, the top three teams in each pool will make the playoffs. The first-place teams will be seeded directly into the semifinals, Friday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. (all times Pacific). The second- and third-place teams will meet in crossover quarter-finals Friday at 2 p.m., with the winners moving into the semis.
Selected games from the 2016 Travelers Curling Club Championships will be live-streamed at www.curling.ca/2016travelers/
Scores and standings from the event will be available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/.
For draw times, team lineups and other event info, go to: www.curling.ca/2016travelers/