Three teams unbeaten, Scotties champ dumped
The undefeated ranks at the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts were reduced to three teams Sunday afternoon. Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland won her second straight with a 9-3 stunner over defender champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg during which the Kronau-based team was nothing short of immaculate. Skip Holland was pointed at 94 per cent on her stones. Jones was 73. “We got some opportunities there and we took advantage of those,” said the blonde Saskatchewan skip. “That made it a little easier.We executed well and Jennifer missed some key shots, hence what happened on he scoreboard.” Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink and Ottawa’s Rachel Homan also forged 2-0 records. Kleibrink stole a 7-6 extra-end decision over Kelly Scott of British Columbia who narrowly missed a long runback triple-kill with her last rock after Alberta welded two stones on the button behind its own guard. Homan stole five points in an easy 7-1 rout of Newfoundland’s Stacie Devereaux. “We’re just playing really well and capitalizing on mistakes,” said the 21-year-old Homan. “I don’t think anybody’s been 100 per cent but you don’t want to start out at 100 per cent. You want to save that for the end of the week. But I’ve been nervous the whole time and it doesn’t matter what the score is.” Kleibrink said she’s still trying to figure out how to execute a nose hit, usually her bread and butter. “I’m comfortable with any draw but nosing a hit, can’t do it,” she said. “But I will, I will. “You just keep battling, they (B.C.) weren’t making every shot, either. We’ve got mountains to climb right now but I’m on the way up there.” It was a tight match until B.C. claimed a ninth-end deuce to take the lead and could have stashed away an insurance point in the 10th end but Scott’s last-rock guard failed to block Kleibrink’s avenue to a B.C. stone in the four-foot. “My second rock over-curled on the guard,” said Scott. “The ice was a little wonky out here. That rock swung so much it almost wound up in seats” In other one game, home-province favourite Suzanne Birt gave a strong performance, doubling the count 10-5 against Marie-France Larouche of St-Romuald, Quebec. It was Birt’s first win and Larouche’s second loss in three games. This issue swung in the fourth end when Birt, owning the hammer in a 3-3 argument, watched her last rock take a fortunate rub and re-direct to the four-foot with Quebec counting a bundle. “If I don’t make that they’re stealing four or five,” admitted Birt. Thereafter, the Islanders stole on instead and tore the issue with three in the seventh and a steal of another deuce in the eighth. Defending champion Jones shurgged off her loss. “We struggled with the ice, struggled with draw weight, struggled with where to put the broom. It was not our game. “But you’re not going to go through undefeated, I always say that. You have to think it may be the right time to lose and hopefully it’s not going to kill us. The key is not to have back-to-back losses.” Jones admitted her opponent “outplayed us — they played pretty well, and put the rocks in all the right places”. Holland said she normally wouldn’t expect to catch Jones with a cold hand. Saskatchewan stole two to go up 5-1 in the fourth end when Joes pulled the string on an open in-turn draw. “She’s usually pretty bang-on, especially when we play her,” she said. “It’s tough to get up early and try to kill the game. You get up four points early and you know there’s lots of game left and a lot can happen. With that team, they’re going to position rocks well and you’re going to have your work cut out for you even though you have a lead.” Holland admitted her team “definitely is more confident in the way we’re throwing and managing the ice”. “This game is all about experience,” said the 36-year-old veteran. “You look at the champions of the last few years and it’s all about people who have been there, done that. We know that and we’re going to take advantage of that experience.” In late draw matches (7:30 p.m. AT), Saskatchewan plays P.E.I., Alberta collides with Ontario, Nova Scotia’s Heather-Smith Dacey (1-2) tackles Kerry Galusha’s Territories unit (0-3) of Yellowknife and Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham (1-2) confronts Andrea Kelly of New Brunswick (1-2). Taking the night off are Team Canada (2-1), B.C. (2-1), Quebec (1-2) and Newfoundland (1-2).