All-west battles dominate Red Deer afternoon

It was an all-West battle royal Tuesday on the ice at the Enmax Centrium, site of the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts. Five of the teams pegged to watch coming into the tourney did not disappoint in the afternoon draw. In a Prairie showdown, Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones ran her record to 5-2 outduelling Saskatchewan’s Michelle Englot in a game that went 11 ends. Englot found herself down two heading home with the hammer and executed a perfect hit-and-stick for a 7-7 tie forcing the extra end.

Team Manitoba slides down the ice during Draw 10 of the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Photo by: Andrew Klaver)

The flatlanders were set up for a potential steal in 11 until Manitoba third Kaitlyn Lawes executed a great double takeout while leaving her counter standing in the four-foot. Englot was left with a delicate hit and soft roll to count and force Jones to make her last one, but she came up short dropping her record to 4-3. “Kaitlyn (Lawes) just made a peach for us in the extra end to set it up,” said Jones. “That made made my life easy.” Both teams have the night off today. Meanwhile, Alberta’s Heather Nedohin came up with a clutch win against B.C.’s Kelly Scott. It was an important win not only for Nedohin, now 3-3, but for the field by handing Scott just her second shot. (Continued below…) Draw 10 Photos
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Nedohin’s crew controlled the game throughout but hit a couple of speedbumps in the latter ends, especially the last one. Up 6-4 with hammer, Nedohin found she was suddenly staring down the sheet at four west-coast counters. With her last shot she needed a wide out-turn draw to grab all of the four-foot and a piece of the lid and count one for a 7-4 victory. “That’s what Laine (lead Peters) said to me after the shot – ‘thanks skip!’ Up to that point I think only one shot had been made, thankfully I made mine,” said Nedohin. The Alberta skip maintained her team has been playing very well in front of her. In fact, she’s most critical of her own performance. “I just needed to pick up my game and thankfully I did that,” said Nedohin, her strained voice barely audible. After the game, it was elbow-bumps all-round. Both teams were very aware of a bug going through the field, and despite the proliferation of handwashers, wipes, and sterile soap everywhere, they decided to forego the traditional handshake. Third Sasha Carter was back on the broom after missing Monday’s play with the flu. Scott said her team was “a whole feels better”. “That’s what we said, the first five was shakier than the next five, like a brand new team stepping out on the ice again,” said the B.C. skip. Nedohin will seek another win at 7:30 p.m. MD against P.E.I. (2-4), while B.C. will take on Newfoundland/Labrador (2-4). Canada’s Amber Holland remained atop the stack, meanwhile, turning a close game she actually was trailing at the break, 3-2, into a rout by blowing it wide open with a steal of four against Ontario’s Tracy Horgan in the seventh end. When Holland added one in the ninth to make it 9-4, the game was over. New Brunswick, meanwhile, bounced back with an impressive 8-4 win over Nova Scotia, cracking a pair of three-enders. Rebecca Atkinson’s crew moved to 4-3, while Heather Smith-Dacey’s dropped its second of the day, falling to 2-5. “We’re definitely happy with the way were playing so hopefully we’ll continue that,” said Atkinson. Asked if taking skip responsibility off the shoulders of Andrea Kelly and allowing her to concentrate on last rocks has been key to the team’s success so far, she seemed to think so. “Well she’s playing really well so it must be working,” said Atkinson. The defending champ is now 5-1 and will return later today against Quebec (3-3). Hoilland was once again without regular second Tammy Schneider who tweaked a leg muscle Monday night. Jolene Campbell threw second rocks. Schneider is listed as a “game-time” decision for the night tilt. “They thought it was a bit of strain in the hamstring, but she was getting some treatment today so we’ll see,” said Holland, adding that the team’s stretch of four games in a row has factored into the decision.(Continued below…) Draw 10 Media Scrum

Campbell struggled at times in her backup role. “This was not her best game and I’m sure she’d tell you that,” said Holland. “But she fits in with our team and she’s part of our team and she has been for the last three years even though back home she has her own team.” Holland said Campbell brings positive energy to the team regardless of her role and that’s important. “We know Joleen can make the shots,” Holland said. “Her attitude is great and is so positive. She was still trying to pump our tires even though we were trying to pump hers,” said the skip. Coach Merv Fonger concurred. “It doesn’t really change too much because the game plan already has been established,” he said. “We’re all involved in rock selection, we’re involved in all facets of the game and the fifth player is always treated as a member of the team.”