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Northern Ontario knocks Team Wild Card from unbeaten ranks at Scotties

PENTICTON, B.C. ‚ Tracy Fleury of Northern Ontario scored three in the first end and hung on for a 7-5 victory Monday to knock Team Wild Card skipped by Kerry Einarson from the ranks of the unbeaten teams at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Fleury, third Crystal Webster, second Jenna Walsh, lead Amanda Gates, alternate Jenn Wylie and coach Andrea Ronnebeck from the Idylwylde Golf and Country Club in Sudbury, scored deuces in the sixth and eighth ends to ensure the win that evened their record at 2-2.

“That was a big one for us for sure,” Fleury said. “We dug ourselves a bit of a hole losing our first two but I feel like we’re getting our momentum, so we hope to finish strong. I think we’re all finally playing well at the same time, finding our game, finding our draw weight, catching on to the ice.”

The first end was a “junky” one but the Fleury foursome put their rocks in good spots to leave their skip a relatively easy last shot for the three.

“It was huge,” Fleury said of the strong start. “But it’s always scary when you have that early lead, especially in a 10-end game, there’s so much time for a team to come back, and they did.”

Einarson and her Team Wild Card teammates from East St. Paul, Man. (3-1) — third Selena Kaatz, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish — got a deuce in two, one in five and another two in seven to tie the game 5-5. But Fleury rebounded with two in the eighth.

“We just weren’t as sharp,” Einarson said of her team. “We had a few different rocks that reacted different and we didn’t figure out until later. One loss is fine. I knew we were going to have to lose one sooner or later.”

Meanwhile Jennifer Jones and her Manitoba foursome continued to pile up the points as they rolled to a fourth straight win, this time 12-4 in eight ends over Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories (1-3; Yellowknife).

“So far so good, we’re finding ways to make big shots and getting some big ends but like I said it’s a new game tomorrow,” Jones (4-0, Winnipeg) said after she and her crew of third Shannon Birchard, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen and coach Wendy Morgan broke open a 2-1 game with five in the fifth end.

Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault pulled out an extra-end win on Monday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Through four games the Manitoba team has outscored opponents 49-15, usually jumping out to early leads and forcing other teams to take chances.

“It’s nice to get early leads,” said Jones. “Then they’ve had to be aggressive and we got some steals out of it. They’re having to take some chances and we’re making some good draws when we have to and putting pressure on the teams.”

In the two other games Monday evening, Sherry Anderson of Saskatchewan (2-2; Saskatoon) stole three in the first and two in the 10th to beat Chelsea Duncan of Yukon (0-4; Whitehorse) 10-7 and Mary-Anne Arsenault of Nova Scotia (2-2; Dartmouth) scored one in the 10th and stole one in 11 to nip Sylvie Robichaud of New Brunswick (2-2; Moncton) 7-6.

The results left Manitoba atop the standings in Pool A at 4-0 followed by Team Wild Card at 3-1, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario and New Brunswick at 2-2, Northwest Territories at 1-3 and Yukon 0-4.

The 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts continues with draws Tuesday at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times PST).

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