Team Canada hits the win column at the Scotties

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — It counted as a loss in the standings at the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but as far as Team Canada skip Chelsea Carey was concerned, her opening-day setback to Ontario’s Rachel Homan was a mission accomplished.

That’s because the lessons she learned about the ice at the Meridian Centre Saturday afternoon paid off with a solid performance Sunday morning in a 6-4 victory over Nova Scotia’s Mary Mattatall, evening the defending champions’ record to 1-1.

“We went into that game (Saturday against Homan) saying that all we care about is getting the ice figured out,” said Carey, whose Calgary team is rounded out by vice-skip Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor and coach Charley Thomas. “Let’s just learn what it’s going to be like and move forward from there, and we really think we did that. There are some tendencies in the ice — they’re not bad, but you just have to figure them out. We felt a lot more prepared, and today the ice kind of did what we expected based on yesterday, so that was good.”

Against Mattatall’s Halifax squad, Team Canada used some patience to pull away from the Bluenosers in the back half of the game. After Nova Scotia took a 3-2 lead through five ends thanks to a fourth-end deuce and a steal of one in the fifth, Carey and Co. buckled down to take the lead with a crucial two in the eighth end and a steal of one in the ninth.

Team Manitoba skip Michelle Englot watches as second Leslie Wilson, left, and lead Raunora Westcott start sweeping. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

“It was tough through the middle ends there; the team played great and I missed a couple shots in four and five to let them off the hook, so that was frustrating,” said Carey. “You have to kind of park that, and the girls just kept making shots in front of me, they were supportive and I managed to get my head sorted and I made a bunch of shots in the last half of the game to close it out.

“You want to get that goose egg off the board as quick as you can, so that was a big one, for sure.”

It was one of four games in the morning draw, with Ontario and Manitoba’s Michelle Englot picking up victories to take an early share of the lead at 2-0.

Englot’s Winnipeg team was an 8-5 winner over Saskatchewan’s Penny Barker (0-2; Moose Jaw) in a game that featured Englot skipping against a province that she represented at seven previous editions of the Scotties.

“I played in those colours a few times, and to see them on the opposition was definitely a little strange,” said Englot with a smile.

Homan’s Ottawa team, meanwhile, rebounded from giving up a three in the third end to B.C.’s Marla Mallett (0-2; Maple Ridge) to score two in the fourth, and steal deuces in the fifth and seventh ends for a 9-3 triumph.

In the other Sunday morning game, 2016 Scotties silver-medallist Krista McCarville (Thunder Bay) evened her record at 1-1 with a 9-4 victory over Quebec’s Eve Bélisle (0-2; Mount Royal).

Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories (1-0; Yellowknife); Newfoundland/Labrador’s Stacie Curtis (1-0; St. John’s); Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink (1-0; Okotoks); and Prince Edward Island’s Robyn MacPhee (0-1; Charlottetown) all had byes on Sunday morning.

TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, is providing extensive coverage of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

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