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Jennifer Jones out of the Scotties playoffs for first time in 14 years

SYDNEY, N.S. – Two last-rock draws had dramatically different results for the previous two champions of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Friday afternoon.

Defending champion Jennifer Jones and Team Canada (5-5, Winnipeg) are out of the playoffs for the first time in the skip’s 14 appearances after her draw to an open house came up short, giving Krista McCarville and Northern Ontario (7-3, Thunder Bay) an 8-6 victory.

But 2017 Scotties champion Rachel Homan of Team Ontario (8-2, Ottawa) drew the full four-foot on her last rock in an extra end to slip pass Suzanne Birt of P.E.I. (6-4, Charlottetown) 7-6 and take a share of top spot.

Homan is tied atop the standings with Chelsea Carey of Team Alberta (8-2, Calgary) with one draw to go. She had a strong bounce-back game after losing both games on Thursday. Alberta scored three in the third end and stole three in the ninth to beat Robyn Silvernagle and Team Saskatchewan (7-3, North Battleford) 10-3. Casey Scheidegger and Team Wild Card (7-3, Lethbridge, Alta.) scored four in the ninth end to beat Sarah Wark and Team British Columbia (5-5, Abbotsford) 11-6 to eliminate B.C.

Alberta’s Rachel Brown, at left, and Dana Ferguson sweep a rock during the Championship Pool on Friday afternoon. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

“We needed a bounce back,” Carey said of her team’s strong game. “We had put ourselves in position that yesterday wasn’t that big a deal as long as we didn’t keep the slide going. Yesterday was tough … but today the ice was nice again and we were back to normal.

“We just wanted to make sure we were in the playoffs after yesterday. One win does that. We know it’s going to be a tough game tonight and win or lose we know we’re in the playoffs and that’s all we wanted. The 1-2 game is a great bonus but it’s not life or death.”

Six of the eight teams in the Championship Pool are still alive in the chase to get to the Page playoffs. Right behind the top two teams are Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario and Wild Card at 7-3 and P.E.I. at 6-4. The top two teams after tonight’s final draw advance to the Page 1-2 playoff game with the winner moving directly to Sunday’s final. The third and fourth place teams will play in the Page 3-4 game.

Jones, a six-time Scotties champion, won’t get the chance to chase a record-breaking seventh title. She was in tough against McCarville who made a number of big game-saving shots early and then watched as the final stone came up short.

“It was good,” Jones said of the shot when she let it go, “But I knew it was going to get to the slide path and it’s about eight to 10 feet different in the middle. If you get to the slide path it does what it did. If I was out wider it probably gets to the tee line.

“We still had to win in the extra (end) so I don’t think that’s the shot that cost us the game, it was just a terrible way to end.”

The 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts continues with this evening’s draw at 7:30 p.m. AST.

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2019 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 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.

For ticket information for the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, go to www.curling.ca/2019scotties/tickets/

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2019scotties/category/nouvelles/?lang=fr

About John Korobanik