Ontario knocks Alberta from the unbeaten ranks at Scotties

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – Alberta skip Chelsea Carey said after her team escaped with a win Tuesday afternoon that her Calgary foursome wasn’t sharp, despite its 6-0 record. So perhaps it was just a matter of time before one of the teams at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts took advantage, and Ontario did just that on Tuesday night. Jenn Hanna and her Ottawa crew of third Brit O’Neill, second Steph Hanna, lead Karen Sagle, alternate Pascale Letendre and coach Bob Hanna scored a deuce in the fourth end and stole two more in the fifth and went on to beat Alberta 7-5 in the evening draw at Revolution Place. “Today was a big day for our confidence,” Hanna said after her team improved to 3-3. “We had a rough game last night and I left the arena not feeling awesome. Today was about confidence and I think we can leave the arena feeling like we’re on a bit of a roll.” For Alberta, the loss wasn’t a total surprise. “We knew someone was eventually going to punish us if we kept playing not great,” said Carey. “That’s how we started that game. We turned it around and got a lot better. I mean if I make my shot in eight, it’s a whole different game.” Alberta did try to battle back by stealing two in the seventh and had the eighth set up for another potential steal. But that lack of sharpness reared its head again when Carey wrecked on a guard on her last-rock draw, under-curling on her attempt to get through a port freeze to an Ontario stone biting the back of the button. “It was a pound more weight than I wanted,” said the Alberta skip. “It’s one of those that I either needed a little less ice for that weight or a little less weight.” That let Hanna draw the edge of the button for two that restored her three-point lead. “The eighth end, just a little bit scary there for a while,” she admitted. “I made the big shot when I needed it. I haven’t made any of those big shots yet so I’m starting to feel more comfortable on the ice.” Defending champion Jennifer Jones and her Winnipeg team, meanwhile, rolled past Saskatchewan 11-5 for its third straight win and a 4-2 record. “We’re getting there,” Jones said of her team’s continual improvement on the ice. The defending champion said her team is getting more comfortable with the ice and the key through the next few days is to keep getting better and get enough wins to get into the playoffs. In the two other evening games, Kerri Einarson of Manitoba (3-3; Winnipeg) scored three in the third end and went on to beat Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland-Labrador (1-6; St. John’s) 8-5 while Jill Brothers of Nova Scotia (4-3; Halifax) remained squarely in the playoff hunt with a 7-6 win over Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island (2-4; Charlottetown.)
Team Canada's Dawn McEwen, left, and Jill Officer work on a rock during Tuesday night's win. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Team Canada’s Dawn McEwen, left, and Jill Officer work on a rock during Tuesday night’s win. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Enjoying the evening off were Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (5-1; Thunder Bay), Marie-France Larouche of Quebec (4-2; St. Romuald) and two 1-5 teams, Sylvie Robichaud of New Brunswick (Moncton) and Karla Thompson of B.C. (Kamloops). The top four teams at the conclusion of the preliminary round Friday advance to the Page playoff. Ties for fourth are solved by tiebreaker games. The winner of Sunday’s final represents Canada at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, March 19-27 in Swift Current, Sask., and wears the Maple Leaf at next year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines, Ont. Should the Scotties champs win a medal at the Ford Worlds, they will also secure a berth into the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Ottawa. Wednesday’s draws are at 8:30 a.m., 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. (all times MST). For ticket and other event information, visit https://www.curling.ca/2016scotties/tickets/ For the complete schedule, go to https://www.curling.ca/2016scotties/draw-schedule/ This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at https://www.curling.ca/2016scotties/?lang=fr 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.