Moving Day at the Scotties!
Jones, Homan, St-Georges take big strides in race to playoffs at Scotties
To borrow a phrase from pro golf, it was Moving Day at the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Wednesday as teams started jockeying for position in the final sprint for playoff positions.
The biggest move was made by six-time national women’s curling champion Jennifer Jones (6-1, Winnipeg/Altona) who climbed into sole possession of first place in Pool B and nailed down a playoff spot at the same time after guiding Team Manitoba to a narrow 7-6 extra-end win over Team Wild Card 2 (2-4, Lethbridge, Alta.), skipped by Casey Scheidegger, in the morning draw at the Sandman Centre.
Scheidegger came up short in a draw to the button to win, handing the win to Jones who is attempting to win a seventh national title, breaking a tie with Colleen Jones and Jill Offer with six Scotties titles.
Also moving on up in Pool B was Rachel Homan’s Team Ontario (4-2, Ottawa). After a so-so start this week, Team Homan has hit its stride and Wednesday’s 9-5 victory over Meghan Walter’s Team Wild Card 3 (2-4, East St. Paul, Man.) lifted it into third place in the pool standings.
The loss spoiled Walter’s birthday celebrations. The University of Manitoba student turned 21 today.
The top three teams in each of the two nine-team pools advance to the playoffs where it will be further reduced to a final four and a Page playoff system.
Meanwhile, Team Quebec (4-2, Laval-sur-le-Lac/Glenmore) skipped by fan favourite Laurie St-Georges, improved its chances for a playoff position with a 8-4 victory over Team Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island (1-5, Cornwall) in Pool A. That moved the team from La Belle Province into a tie for second place with Team Nova Scotia, skipped by Christina Black (Dartmouth).
In the other Pool A game, Team Saskatchewan, skipped by Robyn Silvernagle (2-5, North Battleford), earned a 13-4 victory over skip Brigitte MacPhail’s Team Nunavut (0-6, Iqaluit). Saskatchewan scored a seven-ender, the fourth one in the history of the Canadian women’s championship and first since 2020.
Team Homan had all it could handle with with the young team from Manitoba, and held a trembling three-point advantage after five ends. But the Scotties rookies fired back to close it to 6-5 after seven ends, prompting Team Ontario to hit the gas. They closed out the game with a big score of three in the ninth end.
“They’re a good team, they’re good shooters,” said Tracy Fleury, who skips the team and throws third stones.
Fleury said her team is starting to find its mojo after a 2-2 start.
“We’re definitely finding more consistency and confidence”, she said. “The ice was really great this game and that helps.”
The team is rounded out with second Emma Miskew, lead Sarah Wilkes, alternate Kira Brunton and coach Ryan Fry.
Team Ontario still has two games to close out their schedule.
The final goes Sunday, Feb. 26.
The 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts continues Wednesday with draws at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (all times PST).
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/.
TSN and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
For ticket information for the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, go to www.curling.ca/2023scotties/tickets/.
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2023scotties/nouvelles/?lang=fr.