Team Canada not ready to give up Scotties championship title

SYDNEY, N.S. – Jennifer Jones and Team Canada let it be known Thursday they will not easily relinquish their Scotties Tournament of Hearts title after an impressive 10-8 win over previously unbeaten Chelsea Carey of Alberta.

Alberta (7-1, Calgary) got off to a strong start in the opening draw of the Championship Pool with one in the first and a steal of two in the second. But the veteran Team Canada (5-3, Winnipeg) was unfazed by the early deficit and rebounded with two in the third and two more in the fifth, then sealed the win with three in the seventh and a steal of two in the eighth.

“We got down early, but we made some really big shots when we had to, to keep the game in check and found a way to get that big three, which was the turning point in the game,” said Jones who tied another six-time Scotties champion, Colleen Jones for most game wins in the Scotties, at 140.

Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Jill Officer and coach Viktor Kjäll, went into the game knowing they can’t really afford another loss if they want to make the playoffs, and that inspired them.

“I don’t know if we have to go through (the Championship Pool) unbeaten but we have to go through pretty close to undefeated. So you definitely fight harder … we went out there and when we had to make a big shot, we really beared down and found a way to make it.”

Carey, the 2016 champion, said she and teammates third Sarah Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson, lead Rachel Brown and coach Dan Carey, just couldn’t figure out the ice.

“We just couldn’t get the sheet figured out. We weren’t quite dialed into the path, where it was fast and where it was slow. We were really close to lots of good stuff but just couldn’t quite get it to work.”

Alberta lead Rachel Brown watches her rock during the first Championship Pool draw in Sydney, N.S. on Thursday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

But the loss, she said, isn’t a bad thing. They didn’t expect to go through unbeaten so felt it’s just as well to get the loss over with.

“We put ourselves in a great spot where one loss doesn’t kill us,” she added. “We’re still in a really good place, we’re still better off that almost everybody else out there. But we still have to respond.”

Robyn Silvernagle and Team Saskatchewan (6-2, North Battleford) had three-enders in the seventh and ninth to beat Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (5-3, Thunder Bay) 11-5.

Rachel Homan and Team Ontario (6-2, Ottawa) stole one in the second and two in the third and got four in the sixth to beat Casey Scheidegger and Team Wild Card (6-2, Lethbridge, Alta.) 9-2.

Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island (5-3, Charlottetown) was an inch heavy with her last-rock draw to allow Sarah Wark of British Columbia (5-3, Abbottsford) to steal one in the 10th end for a 9-8 win.

The 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts continues with this evening’s draw at 7:30 p.m. AST.

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/

TSN and RDS2 (streamed on ESPN3 in the United States) will provide complete coverage of the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.

For ticket information for the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, go to www.curling.ca/2019scotties/tickets/

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2019scotties/category/nouvelles/?lang=fr