Four-team playoffs set at Scotties

When all was said and done, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts round-robin results more or less reflected most pre-tournament predictions. Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones and her team of Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin finished safely out front as predicted. The four-time champ put together a finishing skein of six straight wins after losing to Amber Holland Monday night. But how a few days changed everything else.

Jennifer Jones reacts to a play at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Photo by: Andrew Klaver)

At round-robin’s finish Thursday night, Jones and her old rival Kelly Scott of Kelowna were firmly ensconced in tonight’s Page One-Two playoff game (7:30 p.m.) while Holland and her red maple-leafed crew was firmly ensconced on the sidelines. Also surviving the preliminary and slated for the sudden-death Page Three-Four matchup Saturday at 11 a.m. were Marie-France Larouche of Quebec and Heather Nedohin’s home-province aggregation from Edmonton.(Continued Below…) Draw 17 Photos
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The final lineup was decided following Thursday night’s final round-robin draw when Jones (9-2) defeated Ontario’s rookie team skipped by Tracy Horgan (4-7) of Sudbury 5-3, B.C.’s Scott (8-3) stole the winning point in a 7-6 conquest of Becky Atkinson’s New Brunswick squad (5-6), Nedohin (7-4) hung up three deuces and a steal en route to a 7-6 win over Heather Smith-Dacey (4-7) of Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan’s Michelle Englot (5-6) of Regina, already eliminated but playing loosey-goosey, hammered Holland’s defenders 11-5 with a three- and a four-ender for finishing touches. Team Canada experienced a disastrous stretch run, losing four of its last five games to finish 6-5, one game out of the playoffs. Larouche (7-4) lost her final assignment 7-4 Thursday afternoon to Manitoba. Newfoundland’s Heather Strong (4-7), Polar country’s Kerry Galusha (4-7) and Spud Island’s Kim Dolan wrapped up their campaigns in the afternoon. “We’re happy to be playing them (B.C.) in the One-Two game,” said Jones, who already has won four national titles. “You know we had a great game against them in the round robin. Hopefully, we have the hammer this time and we won’t have to steal. “I thought we had a good game tonight, a couple of big shots. Hopefully we’ll be sharp tomorrow.” Ontario took a 2-0 lead but couldn’t hold it. Jones tied it in the fifth and a deuce in the seventh gave her control. New Brunswick last-rocker Andrea Kelly of Oromocto was heavy on a last-rock in-turn bump after Scott buried her last in the four-foot playing the 10th all square but without the hammer. When Kelly’s rock slipped by, B.C. had its eighth win, 7-6, and another shot at renewing the old playoff rivalry with Jones. The teams have met only once in a Page One-Two playoff at the Scotties. Jones won that one 8-7 in 2005. Scott beat Colleen Jones in the 2006 Page One-Two ad went on to win and lost to Jan Betker in the 2007 Page One-Two and came back to win. “We had a few in-turn draws on sheet D in the 10th end,” said Scott, who has Sasha Carter, Dailene Sivertson and Jacquie Armstrong up front. “I don’t think we could have made the last rock much better. We had the perfect brushing, great line, great weight. It was a tough shot for her. It was there but we held our breath on that last shot.” The B.C. team has struggled with the flu all week and certainly wasn’t figured as a near-finalist considering its revamped lineup. “I think this was great for the entire team,” said Scott. “I think it was great for (rookie) Dailene to see that we’re capable of that and that’s what we expect from ourselves. It great for us to prove to ourselves that all the hours we put in practising this game are worth it and that’s why we do it. “We can smell it now. We’re close. “I think today was our best day as a team. Precision was there tonight. “We’ve had a lot of breaks this week. We’ve had a lot of last-rock wins. We’ve had things going our way. A few measures going our way. Those are things you need to get through a tournament like this.” The hoarse-voiced Nedohin was ecstatic with her last day’s success — she defeated Newfoundland 10-3 in the morning before her late win. “Our goal was to make the playoffs and here we are. We’re celebrating right now,” she croaked. “Right now I’m over-the-top proud. Our team came here to make the playoffs and we did it in Alberta. I don’t think our team has ever made it easy on ourselves and we’re just keeping the pace like we normally do.” She wasn’t aware her playoff date was more than a day away. “We get the day off tomorrow?” she shouted. “Well look out Heart Stop Lounge!! “We’ll practise tomorrow but right now I think we’ll just enjoy this moment and take a breather. We just played 11 games so a day off is just A-OK with the front end and A-OK with the back end.” Nedohin and Beth Iskiw form the back end. Jessica Mair and Laine Peters operate out front. Why was Larouche, with Brenda Nicholls, Amelie Blais and Anne Marie Filtreau of St-Romuald, having such a successful run? “We make all the shots,” said the skip who had a bad tournament a year ago but previously was a fixture in playoffs. “And we know we are able to make all the shots. At the beginning we struggled a bit but now we have so much confidence. “I love the ice here because I know I can trust it. That knowledge builds over a week like this.” Regina’s Englot denied any special attention saved for her crosstown rival Holland in the closer. It was the first collision of these teams all season.(Continued Below…) Draw 17 Media Scrum

“We’re just out there for some pride and it didn’t matter if we were playing our provincial team or not,” said Englot. “Every team in this field is a competitor including them and that’s the way we needed to take it. I feel for them but I’m sure it just didn’t come down to one game for them. It’s a game and I’m not going out there to lose to anybody.” The analysis for Holland’s demise was simple. “We didn’t capitalize on a lot of opportunities when we had them,” said the defending champion skip. “Later on tonight, Michelle and the team played exceptionally well. I think Lana (third Vey) made everything. In the ninth end I wound up with no shot. “It was little bit of the whole season, probably. We started off pretty good but we just needed to be that much sharper and we weren’t. “It’s been a great year wearing the maple leaf. You enjoyed it, you enjoyed being here and you hope to have the opportunity to do it again.” Will she be back with her team intact? “I have no idea,” she said. “If that opportunity arises, great. If not, it is what it is. We haven’t even talked about what the future holds for Team Holland quite yet.” Holland admitted: “The last couple of losses I just didn’t play well. I didn’t figure things out and the odd time I had the opportunity to make some shots for points I did it.” Was she under-prepared with no provincial playdowns for warmup? “No,” she said. “Oh gosh no. I think we managed our season quite well for what we wanted to do. No, we’re happy with that.”