Big wins in the battle for playoff positions

After 13 draws at the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Manitoba (7-0), Ontario (6-1), Canada (6-2) and Saskatchewan (5-3) hold the top four spots in the round robin standings. But the rest of the field – including New Brunswick and PEI (both sitting at 4-4) and B.C. (4-3) – is working its way up from below, and Thursday afternoon’s games provided an opportunity to keep the leaders in sight. New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford and her team of Rebecca Atkinson, Danielle Parsons and Jodie deSolla from the Gage Golf and Curling Club in Oromocto faced Alberta’s Kristie Moore and was all business, earning a 9-3 victory.

New Brunswick skip Andrea Crawford has her eyes on the playoffs with another win at the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Moore scored her first win of the tournament against Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories/Yukon on Wednesday night, but the team struggled against New Brunswick, which stole three ends and was shooting over 90 percent through the first five ends. The score was 7-1 at the break, and Crawford controlled the game from start to finish, moving New Brunswick to a 5-4 record. “There are a few teams at the four-loss mark right now and we’ve got a battle to stay at that point, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out over the next few games,” said Crawford. “It’s a good position for us, because it’s that time of the week when your performance really needs to be climbing, so we need to be doing that to win these games.” Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt, who rattled off four wins in a row before losing a close contest to B.C.’s Kelly Scott on Wednesday night, slipped further down the standings, losing to Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault, who says her team has found their game. “We (won the game) in fine style,” said Arsenault. “I think we’ve got the train rolling. Our communication is a bit better, our shot-making is better. We’re reading the ice better. Everything is just a little bit better.” The win-loss numbers are becoming more important with each draw, said Arsenault. “There are a lot of teams that are just kind of hanging on by their toenails,” she said. “And we’re one of them.” Also chasing a playoff spot, B.C.’s Kelly Scott stole two ends from Newfoundland and Labrador’s Stacie Devereaux on the way to a 7-4 win. Scott climbs to 5-3, tied with Saskatchewan for fourth place. A disappointed Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories/Yukon took Quebec’s Allison Ross to an extra end, but just couldn’t put the game away. “We actually got some breaks, and things were going our way,” said Galusha. “We kept stealing and we know we can (win) if we just put our rocks in the right spots. And then in the last end I overthrew my first one and we ended up back button, the worst possible spot. Allison (Ross) made a great shot, and then I just missed my last one by a hair. That’s the way our whole week’s been going.” “We’re just focusing on playing better, “she said. “Tomorrow we play B.C. and Team Canada and we’ve beat them before, so tomorrow we’re just going to have to go and play a bit better. We’ve got our work cut out for us.” The Scotties continues on Thursday with Draw 14 at 7:30 p.m., and on Friday with draws at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (all times EST). All draws are being broadcast by TSN/RDS, the official broadcast partner of the Season of Champions. Live scoring, statistics and updated standings are available at httpvh://