PENTICTON, B.C. – Just like Brad Gushue has done over the past decade in the men’s game, Stacie Curtis is showing Newfoundland/Labrador belongs on the centre stage of Canadian curling.
Curtis and her team from St. John’s have rolled out to a 4-0 record in Pool B of the 16-team 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s curling championship. They prevailed in a showdown of unbeatens Monday afternoon by downing Alberta’s Casey Scheidegger (Grande Prairie/Lethbridge) 9-5. Alberta entered the Scotties as the pool’s top-seeded team, and second overall to Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones.
“It feels great. It feels kind of surreal right now,” said Curtis of being undefeated. “We had a real good game just now against Alberta, they’re a really tough team. We figure they’re going to be in the mix at the end of the week.
“We’re really excited about where we are, but we’ve still got a long ways to go.”
This is Curtis’s fifth appearance at the Scotties. Her best showing came last year in St. Catharines, Ont., when her team of third Erin Porter, second Julie Devereaux (Curtis’s sister), lead Erica Trickett and coach Eugene Trickett tied for sixth with a 5-6 record, winning their final three games. That makes it seven straight at the Scotties for them.
“Our team dynamic is just fantastic. We continue to pick each other up and continue to believe if we don’t make the first shot perfect, we’ll make the next one. We’re just trying to keep the roll going,” said Curtis before adding, “and having fun. We like to laugh, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
She doesn’t think being 4-0 means her team has sent a message to its opponents.
“It’s a long week, and we have a lot more wins we have to chase and get. We’ll see when we get there. It’s a long week,” the 31-year-old skip said.
Newfoundland/Labrador had control by the fifth-end break. Curtis scored two in the fourth and stole another in the fifth when Scheidegger’s attempted angle raise rolled through the house for a 4-1 Newfoundland/Labrador lead. A big takeout to score three in the seventh gave Curtis a comfortable 7-2 lead which proved too much to overcome for Scheidegger, third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Scheidegger, lead Kristie Moore, alternate Susan O’Connor and coach Carolyn McRorie.
Team Nunavut’s Christanne West, left, and Denise Hutchings share a laugh during action on Monday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)
“We knew they were a good team, they have a ton of experience here, so we knew we would have to play well and we didn’t. That’s just the breaks,” said Scheidegger. “We struggled with the ice, with the rocks and we kind of let that get the best of us. That happens in our sport. I guess we’re just going to have come back stronger because we’re resilient and that’s what a good team does, come back firing the next game.”
Team Canada, skipped by Michelle Englot (Winnipeg), kept pace with Alberta at 3-1 by beating Nunavut’s Amie Shackleton (0-4; Iqaluit) 13-4 in eight ends. B.C.’s Kesa Van Osch (Nanaimo) evened the host province’s record at 2-2 by downing Quebec skipped by Émilia Gagné 10-4 in eight ends. The loss dropped the teenagers from Alma, Que., to 1-3
Ontario skip Hollie Duncan (Toronto) forced an extra end by scoring one in the 10th end and then stole two in the 11th to down Robyn MacPhee of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown) 8-6. Ontario improved to 2-2 while P.E.I. dropped to 1-3.
The 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts continues with a draw today at 7 p.m. and draws Tuesday at 9 p.m., 2 and 7 p.m. (all times PST).