It’s four-out-of-six and counting. That’s the situation Chelsea Carey and her young team registered out of Morden, Man., finds itself in today, the final day of round-robin qualifying at the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling.
Carey, undisputed leader on the women’s side of the draw, posted another pair of impressive victories Thursday at the Cranbrook RecPlex — 9-3 over Canadian champ Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., and 5-4 in an extra end against defending Canada Cup champion Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon.
“You can’t get a better start than this,” said the unflappable 27-year-old skip.
“We figure one more win and go from there. Five-and-one should get us something. But we try to stay out of all that won-lost record stuff and just concentrate on our games.”
She directs her team of Kristy McDonald, Kristen Foster and Lindsay Titheridge today against Heather Nedohin (1-3) of Edmonton and four-time Canadian champion and Manitoba rival Jennifer Jones (2-2) of Winnipeg
Carey admitted her team is going better than ever at this point in the season.
“Yeah, this is as good as we’ve been all year. We’ve won three or four in a row this year but, considering this field, it is as good as we’ve been.
“I think knowing how competitive it is helps us. That was more noticeable for us last year. We played our best against the really good teams.”
One game off Carey’s pace, relative veteran Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary won her third in four starts, scoring in the 10th end without requiring the hammer to dispose of Holland and her crew 7-6 in the evening. It was Holland’s third loss in four starts.
“One more and we should have a playoff shot,” said Kleibrink, whio has a habit of hanging around to the last gasp at the Canada Cup, winning twice in the past.
The Calgary team cracked three in the third end to erase a two-point deficit and dominated the issue thereafter.
“We probably played a little better than we have in the last couple of games,” said Kleibrink. “We were in control. We didn’t give up anything big (two stolen singles) which is a bonus. They played well, too, though.”
Excellent team play in the final end proved paramount.
“We made some really good shots,” said Kleibrink. “We really didn’t give them much to work with.”
Jones hung tough with a 9-6 decision over Ottawa’s Rachel Homan (2-2) that was tilted when the Winnipeggers fashioned a four-ender in the fourth end.
Carey’s afternoon conquest of Lawton dropped the defending champ into a three-loss hole. In another afternoon match, Homan directed a 9-6 victory over Heather Nedohin which proved to be the latter’s third loss of the piece.
I think maybe 4-and-2 will get you to the playoffs,” suggested Homan, the Canadian junior champ of two seasons ago.
“I think we’re definitely right there with the rest of them.”
Homan opened with a deuce and was never headed by her foe from Edmonton.
Lawton hoisted her team out of a winless hole with a cold, last-rock draw to the four-foot in a 7-6 win over Jennifer Jones (1-2) in the morning.
“It was a well-played game, a good team game and we were all shooting well,” said Lawton.
As for her last rock out-turn that her sweepers dragged to a counting position at the finish?
“We do it all the time. I just wanted to make sure I gave it to my sweepers — they work their butts off to get it there and it becomes a great team shot.”
“We’re back to ourselves again and playing the way we should be playing. Yesterday was a rough day for us but we managed to come back today and make some great shots.”
Kleibrink, who has unveiled crucial shots in all her assignments to date, had “no thinking time” for her last one. She was in the hack the moment Nedohin delivered her last draw which remained in the open.
“Had her shot not gone in so deep and left me the hit, it might have been a tougher shot, possibly a bump or a tap of some kind,” said the 43-year-old Kleibrink.
“This win was crucial. You don’t want to sustain two losses this early. If we get on a bit of roll here in the middle it will be much easier at the end. But I think two losses will be close at the end — this is a pretty tight field.”
Today’s action calls for Homan to play Lawton and Carey to face Nedohin at 9 a.m.
Carey tackles Manitoba rival Jones at 2 p.m. while Nedohin plays Holland and Kleibrink tackles Lawton.
In final qualifiers today at 7 p.m., Kleibrink plays Homan and Holland goes against Jones in a battle of the Canadian champs of the past two seasons.