Alberta wins tiebreaker!

Alberta skip Laura Walker watches her shot during Sunday morning’s tiebreaker game. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Alberta grinds out win over Manitoba to reach Scotties semifinal

Alberta’s Laura Walker will take a six-game win streak into the semifinal of the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Walker’s Edmonton team — vice-skip Kate Cameron, second Taylor McDonald, lead Rachel Brown, alternate Dana Ferguson and coach Shannon Pynn — scored a stunning three in the 10th end for a 9-8 win over Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones in a third-place tiebreaker at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

With the win, Alberta will take on defending champion Team Canada, skipped by Kerri Einarson (Gimli, Man.) in the semifinal at 2:30 p.m. (all times Eastern).

The semifinal winner will then move on to the gold-medal game at 8:30 p.m. against Ontario’s Rachel Homan (Ottawa).

Alberta’s six straight wins include four in a row in the Championship Pool, and Sunday morning’s win was more evidence of the team’s ability to hang tough.

“That’s exactly what we’ve done,” said Walker. “Even to start the Championship Pool, we kind of let a lead get away and had to win in an extra end (against Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges). And in this game, we gave up a steal early and we were completely behind the 8-ball. We just never gave up on each other, and I think that’s where our success has come — not giving up on each other.”

Manitoba took a 4-1 lead with a stolen deuce in the third end when Walker was light on a draw. But Alberta fought back to tie it 6-6 after eight ends, only to give up a deuce to Manitoba in the ninth.

Manitoba’s Jocelyn Peterman, left, and Kaitlyn Lawes sweep during Sunday’s tiebreaker. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

In the 10th, though, Alberta had the three set up early with two stones buried behind corner guards, and when Jones missed on her last-gasp double-takeout attempt, all Walker needed was to touch paint for the win.

“I knew I had it in me to play better than what I was playing in those first few ends,” said Walker. “To be honest, the early morning really got to me and it took me the first few ends to stop trying to make the shots. I was trying too hard to make them instead of just throwing them clean. I’m glad my teammates hung in with me.”

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Curling Canada