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Team Einarson rallies for crucial win at Home Hardware Canada Cup

ESTEVAN, Sask. – Just when it looked like they were in deep trouble, Kerri Einarson and her Winnipeg team dug themselves out of a hole by rallying from a 5-2 fourth-end deficit to beat Allison Flaxey of Winnipeg 7-6 in the third draw of the 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup.

Einarson, vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, lead Briane Meilleur and coach Patti Wuthrich had struggled with consistency through the first 15 ends of two games Wednesday at Affinity Place, losing their morning game and trailing Flaxey.

Suddenly Einarson found her draw weight and the game turned. They scored two in the fifth end and stole two in the fifth.

“That was huge, that was the game turner,” Einarson said of the steal.

So what happened?

“We just, well I got a better feel for the ice, I found my draw weight and made those key shots I needed to for my team,” she said. “The latter half we definitely went out and played with more confidence. That definitely is key to winning games. You have to have lots of confidence and go out there believing you can make anything.”

Einarson started well with a deuce in the first end but gave that back in the second. Flaxey stole one in the third when Einarson’s final stone draw was swept hard to get past a guard but then slid inches long. In the fourth Einarson came up short with her last rock draw to the four foot, giving Flaxey a steal of two and a 5-2 lead.

Then the Einarson crew dug in its heels, bouncing back with a deuce of its own in the fifth, a steal of two in the sixth and a steal of one in the seventh for a 7-5 edge.

Asked if she felt her team had let a win slip away, Flaxey replied: “Oh yeah, I would say that for sure. I think we got a little bit defensive with our strategy and stopped making some draws when we needed to make draws. The ice didn’t change or anything. I think we just lost a bit of our feel, made ourselves look at a few too many rocks”

In the other women’s games in Draw 3, Casey Scheidegger (2-0) of Lethbridge, Alta., stole two in the ninth and one in the 10th to rally past Rachel Homan (1-1) of Ottawa 7-5, and Jennifer Jones (2-0) of Winnipeg scored three in the ninth end to beat Darcy Robertson (1-1) of Winnipeg 9-7.

Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher picked up his first win of the 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

On the men’s side, Kevin Koe (1-1) of Calgary beat Matt Dunstone (0-2) of Regina 9-6 while Brendan Bottcher (1-1) of Edmonton defeated Reid Carruthers (0-2) of Winnipeg 9-5.

The 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup continues with draws Thurday at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times CST).

TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Hardware Canada Cup. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule

The Home Hardware Canada Cup format calls for the men’s and women’s teams to play a three-day round robin, with the first-place teams advancing to their respective finals on Sunday, while the second- and third-place teams meet in semifinals on Saturday, after any required tiebreakers, to determine the other finalists.

For ticket information, as well as team lineups and the full event draw for the 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup, go to www.curling.ca/2018canadacup/

The French version of this story will be posted as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/?lang=fr