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Team Canada prevails in Scotties thriller

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – As wild finishes go, it will be hard to top a Tuesday night dandy at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Team Canada’s Chelsea Carey had a game in her control, almost gave it away and then ended up winning an 8-7 thriller over Michelle Englot of Manitoba at the Meridian Centre.

Holding a 6-2 lead after six ends, it looked like the Calgary-based Canadian team was headed for victory and about to serve Englot her first loss of the competition.

Not so fast, said Englot, who counted one in the seventh, stole two in the eighth and played a perfect end to steal two more in the ninth.

The 6-2 deficit was now a 7-6 Englot advantage as the 10th end began.

The closing end was a rockfest, with seven stones touching the four-foot at one point. For the longest time, it looked like Carey was going to be forced to one and an extra end. When Englot’s final-rock guard overcurled slightly, Carey had room to squeeze past it and nudge one of her own rocks to bite the button for the winning deuce.

The final rock was a team shot, Carey said.

Team Northern Ontario second Ashley Sippala looks for sweeping instructions. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

“There was good communication on the weight. It was all there for sure. We had to hit it pretty thin. It was good all the way down; a great line call and we were lucky enough to pull that one off,” said Carey, who is backed by the familiar faces of vice-skip Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor and coach Charley Thomas.

Carey said her team played a good eighth end, until she missed her last rock which would have cut the Englot steal from two to one.

“We were never scoring, but I missed that which was unfortunate and then we didn’t play very well in nine. They made two great shots behind the guard and we were chasing them the whole end. I don’t think they missed a shot in eight or nine, so what do you do?”

Well, you make a great shot with your last rock in 10 to go to 5-1 in the standings. Englot is 6-1.

Three sheets away from the Carey-Englot game, Homan’s Ontario team from Ottawa had an easy time with Saskatchewan, scoring a 7-4 victory over Penny Barker (0-6; Moose Jaw). Homan is now 7-0 and alone at the top of standings.

“We’ve had a strong week; we’re playing really well,” Homan said. “We’re playing all our last ends and having to make some last shots. We’ve had some really tight games and those are always really good to have to learn the ice and to learn from our mistakes, and keep getting better and better.”

Even with seven draws remaining, the field is sorting itself out. The five teams with four or more losses are all but out. That leaves seven teams for four spots.

In the other games, Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville defeated British Columbia’s Marla Mallett (0-7; Maple Ridge) 8-3 and Quebec’s Eve Bélisle downed Nova Scotia’s Mary Mattatall (1-5; Windsor) 12-6.

With a fifth straight win, the Quebec team from Mount Royal is now 5-2. McCarville, curling out of Thunder Bay, is 4-2.

The Tuesday night byes went to the Northwest Territories’ Kerry Galusha (3-3; Yellowknife), Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink (3-3, Okotoks), Newfoundland/Labrador’s Stacie Curtis (2-4; St. John’s, and Prince Edward Island’s Robyn MacPhee (2-4; Charlottetown).

Draws Wednesday are at 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET. One of the feature games of the day will be the battle between Northern Ontario and Ontario on the afternoon draw.

TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, is providing extensive coverage of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

For ticket information, go to: www.curling.ca/2017scotties/tickets/

For schedule information, go to: www.curling.ca/2017scotties/draw/

Live scoring for the 2017 Scotties is available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/#!/competitions/2236

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2017scotties/?lang=fr