Holland tumbles into three-way traffic jam

Suddenly, it’s a real horse-race. With seven teams operating within a game of one another at the top of the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts heap. Defending champion Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., gassed a last-rock draw looking at three in an extra-end Tuesday night at the Enmax Centrium to create a three-way traffic jam at the front of the field with four more units barking at the heels of the leading trio.

Amber Holland chats with teammates during the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Photo by: Andrew Klaver)

Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec each won twice on the day and it was British Columbia (Kelly Scott), Team Canada (Holland) and Manitoba (Jennifer Jones) operating at 5-and-2 with New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Quebec at 4-and-3. Holland’s match against Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche developed into a disaster for the champs. “We had control of the whole game until the last few ends and there were a few key misses there and that’s what happens,” moaned Holland. “I had an opportunity for the win twice and didn’t make it either time.” Canada led 4-1 at the half and 5-2 after eight ends but fell apart at the finish and bowed 8-5 in overtime. (Continued Below…) Draw 11 Photos
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After Larouche picked up a pair in the ninth, she had Holland gazing at a double in the 10th and stole the tying point out of it, then stole three in the 11th. The Quebec skip executed a last-rock double in the extra exchange and her shooter rolled away from centre leaving Holland the open in-turn draw which hung up short of the rings. “I thought I had a really great game up until the ;ast couple of ends,” said Holland with a shrug. “Came up a little light on the last one. Yup. I just threw it light and once it gets to the curl it’s gone. So I’ll park this right away. I made a lot of great shots earlier in that game.” The slender skip from St-Romauld said she didn’t expect Holland to miscue at the finish. “But I’m very happy about that,” she said. “I didn’t play well at the beginning but after the fifth end I think I bring back my good curling. This is great for our confidence. “True, we put a lot of pressure on her in the last ends. I didn’t know if I should play just a little tap in the extra end but for me the double was easier and she had to play against three.” Scott erased the sour taste of a 7-4 afternoon loss to Alberta by defeating Heather Strong (2-5) or Newfoundland 11-7. With flu-ridden third Sasha Carter back in action, and in some pain, the B.C. team overhauled a three-point deficit incurred in the first end by stealing a pair of deuces for a 5-3 lead. But Strong came back with a second three-point shocker in the fifth, Scott then hung up back-to-back singles, one of which Strong got back in the eighth. In the ninth, with a jumble of rocks crowded in the four-foot, Scott pulled off a spectacular angle-raise takeout for four which settled the issue. “Ohhh. Thank goodness it didn’t go down to the wire,” said Scott with a big sigh of relief. “It was touch and go. We needed to close it in the ninth.” Carter left the building in a hurry with remnants of the flu. “The first five was really rough for her and the last five she played lights out,” said Scott. “Scrapping is a good word. Off the ice, on the ice, together as a unit, we keep trying to find a way. We’re waiting for it to open up and be a bit easier than it is right now. It’s difficult right now but we’re pulling together as a team.” Scott is excited with the way her team has hung in to this point, winning tight decisions. (Continued Below…) Draw 11 Media Scrum

“Championship teams scrap. right?” she asked. “You have to have that in your box of tools. We have really good team chemistry, good dynamics, a good blend of personalities that pull through these things and it’s showing this tournament.” As for the crazy flu that kept Territories skip Cathy Galusha on the shelf all day, Scott said: “I got over it, our family members got over it, other players seem to be over it, but I think Sash’s body is going through multiple things with the pregnancy so for her, unfortunately, it’s not just 24 hours. It has hit her really hard. But she digs and she grinds.” Next up for B.C. is an old nemesis, Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, this morning. “We haven’t played her since the Scotties last year,” mused Scott. Jones won a pair earlier, 8-3 over Nova Scotia and 8-7 in an extra end over Saskatchewan. Alberta capped its two-win day on the late shift hitting for four in the ninth to double Prince Edward Island’s Kim Dolan 10-5. Ontario’s Tracy Horgan walloped the flu-ridden Territories lineup, which had been reduced to three players earlier but managed to produce four in the evening, by a 12-2 count with Sharon Cormier skipping. “That was much better,” said Horgan (3-4) who called a halt to a four-game losing skid. “We played better than in recent games. It has been frustrating but we’re learning lots.” Nedohin termed Tuesday “our turnaround day”. “I think we played solid as a team,” she said. “Actually, I think we’ve played consistently throughout but this was a good day. Momentum is a good thing and we look forward to more of it tomorrow. “Honestly, the three girls in front of me have been playing well all week and there hasn’t been much change. When I can bring my game up to match those of my teammates it’s a good thing.”