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Relaxed Team Wild Card keeps on winning at Scotties

PENTICTON, B.C. – They may have gone through the back door but they have made their way to the front at the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The team from East St. Paul, Man., skipped by Kerri Einarson qualified to compete in a one-game playoff with Chelsea Carey of Calgary to determine who would be Team Wild Card in the revamped 16-team format of the Canadian women’s curling championship.

Einarson, third Selena Katz, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish took advantage of the opportunity by defeating Carey 7-4 Friday night. Less than 48 hours later, that foursome is 2-0 in Pool A round-robin play after downing Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault (Dartmouth) 7-5 Sunday afternoon.

“It’s nice to get two Ws to start with,” said Einarson, who admitted now they’re in the main draw there’s a totally different aura around the team. “It’s so weird. Playing that game against Chelsea it was, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s do or die, you’re in it or you’re not!’ So we’re super glad to be out there.”

Team Wild Card broke open a tight game with a three in the eighth end to take a 6-3 lead. Einarson’s crew will face Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories on Monday.

Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg and her Manitoba team is also 2-0 after beating the Yukon team from Whitehorse (0-2) skipped by Chelsea Duncan 14-1 in six ends when Manitoba scored six in the sixth. Games at the Scotties are supposed to go at least eight ends except at the umpire’s discretion and the agreement of both teams. Both teams gathered together for a group picture after the game.

Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson calls instructions to her sweepers on Sunday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

In its two games, Manitoba has outscored its opponents 26-6 in just 14 ends, but will face tougher competition Monday against Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories.

“It’s going to be a little bit more of a grind now,” said Jones.

The three Winnipeg area teams – Manitoba, Einarson, and Team Canada skipped by Michelle Englot in Pool B – are 2-0.

Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson, Manitoba’s victim Saturday night, bounced back by beating Kerry Galusha of Yellowknife 8-4 to even both teams’ records at 1-1. Anderson, 54, is skipping a young bunch (third Kourtney Fesser, 23, second Krista Fesser, 23, lead Karlee Korchinski, 22), who may have had a bit of stage fright in their Scotties debut.

“It was good,” said Anderson of how her team took their Scotties initiation. “They were anxious to play. They just want to curl. We like curling and it’s fun to play on an ice surface in such a nice venue.

“They rebounded good. And really we didn’t play that badly (against Manitoba). Even though we got blown out of the rink (12-5), Jennifer and her team played really, really well and didn’t give us many openings. And if I hit and stick in the second one it’s 2-1 instead of 5-0.”

New Brunswick is also 1-1 after Sylvie Robichaud of Moncton downed Northern Ontario skipped by Tracy Fleury 8-5. The Sudbury squad is 0-2.

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/

TSN and RDS2 (streamed on ESPN3 in the United States) will provide complete coverage of the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Go to www.tsn.ca/2017-18-curling-broadcast-schedule-1.593081 for the complete schedule.

For ticket information for the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, go to www.curling.ca/2018scotties/tickets/

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2018scotties/category/nouvelles/?lang=fr