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Balanced life has Larouche enjoying, and winning, curling again

Marie-France Larouche is now enjoying a more balanced life that has her once again loving the game she has played since a young teenager, and it’s showing on the ice.

Larouche and her St. Romuald teammates rolled past Saskatchewan 10-4 Sunday to improve to 2-0 after four draws of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Grande Prairie, Alta.

The 35-year-old Larouche quit the sport after the 2012 Scotties, where she finished 7-6 after losing the bronze-medal game to Jennifer Jones, to spend time with family and focus on her job.

Plus, she said Sunday, losing had become too difficult to handle.

“When I lose (now) it’s a little bit less hard for me,” she said. “I know there’s other things in my life. I’m here because I love the sport and love to play against the great teams so I’m better now in my head.

“It’s in our blood, but sometimes you have to focus on other things.”

Two shots – one she made and one her opponent missed – were the deciding factor Sunday that propelled Larouche and her Quebec team of third Brenda Nicholls, second Annie Lemay, lead Julie Rainville, alternate Amelie Blais and coach Pierre Charrette to the victory over Jolene Campbell and her Regina teammates.

Larouche managed to sneak her final stone in the fourth end through a narrow port and bump back a Saskatchewan rock to score three. In the fifth Quebec stole four when Campbell’s final shot, trying a hit-and-stay, rubbed a guard and slid through the house.

In other fourth-draw games, Chelsea Carey of Alberta (Calgary) improved to 3-0 with an 8-5 win over Karla Thompson of B.C. (Kamloops), Sylvie Robichaud of New Brunswick (Moncton) beat Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland-Labrador (St. John’s) 7-4 and Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (Thunder Bay) stole deuces in the 10th and 11th ends to shock Jill Brothers of Nova Scotia (Halifax) 9-7.

Northern Ontario skip Krista McCarville assesses the situation. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Northern Ontario skip Krista McCarville assesses the situation. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

“We had our shot to win in 10,” Brothers, who has been sick the past few days, said of her last-rock draw attempt.

“We threw what we thought we needed and we read the ice wrong as far as weight goes. I let it go, thought it was fine and the next thing you know it wasn’t curling … and there it goes.”

The results left Alberta at 3-0, Quebec and Northern Ontario 2-0, Team Canada, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and P.E.I. all at 1-1, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia 1-2, B.C. 0-2 and Newfoundland-Labrador 0-3.

“We had a mission to be 2-1 after three games, to be solidly placed and we did that,” Alberta third Amy Nixon said after their second win of the day. “But, we have a lot of games ahead of us so we’re just taking it in chunks.”

Sunday evening’s draw is at 6:30 p.m. MT.

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This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.