Three teams tied atop Scotties standings heading into final day of Championship Pool

SYDNEY, N.S. – Parity at the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts continued to be a focal point Thursday with three teams now tied atop the standings and no team in the Championship Pool eliminated going into the final two draws.

In a battle of two of the heavyweights coming into the event, 2017 Scotties champion Rachel Homan and Team Ontario (7-2, Ottawa) hung on to beat Jennifer Jones and Team Canada (5-4, Winnipeg), 9-6, a loss that put the defending champions in danger of missing the playoffs.

Suzanne Birt of P.E.I. (6-3, Charlottetown) handed Chelsea Carey of Alberta (7-2, Calgary) a second straight loss, 10-6, to create the logjam for top spot.

In the other two games Robyn Silvernagle and Team Saskatchewan (7-2, North Battleford) beat Sarah Wark of B.C. (5-4, Abbotsford) 8-6 and Krista McCarville and Team Northern Ontario (6-3, Thunder Bay) stole five points in the fourth and fifth ends to beat Casey Scheidegger and Team Wild Card (6-3, Lethbridge, Alta.) 7-5.

The results left Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario at 7-2 followed by Northern Ontario, Wild Card and P.E.I. at 6-3 and Canada and B.C. at 5-4.

“It’s so great to see Canada get so much more competitive because the world is catching up and we need to keep pushing each other,” Homan said of the competitiveness here. “It’s great to see Canada’s talent is deep and there’s lot of great teams out there.”

Homan, with third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney, lead Lisa Weagle, alternate Cheryl Kreviazuk and coach Marcel Rocque got the early lead with a three in the second end and two in the fourth before Jones scored three in the fifth to make a game of it.

“We had control and made a few mistakes in the middle,” said Homan. “But we learned from them, kept trying to make eight shots…and we made enough of them to win.

We had to win, we can’t lose anymore. We don’t want any more than two losses so we’re going to continue to put our foot down.”

Jones admitted she is now tethering on the edge of elimination.

“I don’t think we can afford any more (losses) and that might have been too many,” admitted Jones. “You never know how it’s going to fall out.”

P.E.I.’s Suzanne Birt has become a crowd favourite at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Birt was tied 2-2 with Carey, the 2016 Scotties champion, until she broke the game open with four in the fifth, an end that ignited loud chanting from the fans who appear to have adopted the team with Nova Scotia now out.

“It really uplifts you every time you hear chants for your team,” she said. “That was a big game for us to win after a loss earlier. There’s just a lot of close games, a lot of great teams, so many teams with the same records, just makes every game so very, very important.”

The Championship Pool play concludes with two draws Friday. The top four teams, barring tiebreakers, advance to the Page playoffs Saturday.

The 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts continues with draws on Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (all times 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