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Close as can be: Team Canada defeats Saskatchewan on win-lose final shot at Scotties

Northern Ontario, B. C. improve to 2-0 after fourth draw at Scotties
As the saying goes, fortune favours the brave: you don’t get the best results if you don’t take the toughest chances.

Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle took that to heart in the fourth draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Sunday afternoon at Mosaic Place.

Facing two with her final shot of the 10th end against Team Canada’s Chelsea Carey, Silvernagle attempted a thin angle take-out to score two and take the win. Instead, she was only able to tick off one and sail through the house, giving Carey a steal of two and a 9-6 victory.

“Playing a great team like that in an extra, it’s tough to win when you don’t have hammer, so we thought ‘why not, just go for it’,” Silvernagle said. “We needed a quarter of a rock and didn’t miss by much.”

Silvernagle could have drawn for one and settled for the extra end, a strategy that even Carey herself would have wanted little to do with.

“I think I would have, it’s tough to win in an extra end without the hammer,” she said, echoing Silvernagle when asked by The Canadian Press’ Donna Spencer if she would have taken the shot. “It was makeable and it looked like she missed it by a lot but she didn’t, another half inch she makes it and gets the win. Especially with the way she played it, she didn’t fire it, she threw it quiet, so if she gets it a little thick it rolls to centre to get one.”

Silvernagle, third Stefanie Lawton, second Jessie Hunkin and lead Kara Thevenot didn’t have the best of contests. The rink curled 70 per cent total with Silvernagle at 55 and Lawton at 69.  Lawton even hogged a rock in the eighth end, the most uncommon of occurrences for one of the province’s most decorated players. To illustrate that point, Lawton had a terrific triple-takeout in the third end that drew a massive cheer from the crowd of 4,424.

“You have to make everything at the Scotties, it can’t be a half shot here and a half shot there, games at this level you have to be playing well all the time,” Silvernagle said.

Silvernagle opened with two in the first end, but Carey took advantage of a handful of misses to score single points in five of the next six ends, with a Silvernagle deuce in the fifth breaking the steal streak.

Still, a deuce in eight gave Silvernagle a 6-5 lead. Carey picked up two in the ninth and then set things up perfectly for the steal in 10.

“We got better as the game went on, too, which was great,” said Carey, who is playing alongside third Sarah Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown. “I was proud of the girls for hanging in there after a tough deuce in the first end, we hung in and got better and better and we need to keep building for the rest of the week.”

Now, back to that crowd.

The 4,424 fans – many dressed in green for the ‘Wear Green for Saskatchewan Day’ – were fully behind Silvernagle from the second they stepped into the ice area and never let up, with Lawton’s triple reminiscint of a Moose Jaw Warriors overtime goal in the WHL playoffs.

“It was incredible to make a shot and it gives you goosebumps,” Silvernagle said.

Carey went through a similar experience in 2016 in Grande Prairie and gushed about how incredible the Moose Jaw crowd was.

“It’s awesome, you wish they were cheering for you and as much as it’s cool for me, I’m more imagining what it’s like for them because I’ve been there and it’s really neat,” Carey said with a huge grin. “The fans are really great to us, too, they’re really knowledgeable and it’s a lot of fun to play in this kind of a building.”
Both teams now sit 1-1 in Pool A

Saskatchewan is back on the ice for the evening draw against Nunavut, and with the buy-one-get-one ticket sale last year, another massive crowd is expected. Canada faces Quebec in the 8:30 a.m. draw Monday.

B.C.’s Corryn Brown isn’t letting the experience of her first Scotties get to her in any way, shape or form.

The 2013 Canadian junior gold medalist improved to 2-0 and moved into a first-place tie in Pool B with Ontario’s Rachel Homan after taking an 8-5 win over the Northwest Territories’ Kerry Galusha.
“I think we came into it thinking we had a good chance, we matched up well with them. We definitely capitalized when we could and got a big four-ender there, so that was huge,” Brown said. “It’s those games that are in an around our calibre that we definitely want to step up and win.”

Brown and her rink of third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes and lead Ashley Klimchuk did most of their damage in the seventh end when, leading 4-2, they scored four to take control of the game.

Galusha – who skips but throws second stones and is joined by fourth Jo-Ann Rizzo, third Sarah Koltun and lead Shona Barbour – tried to battle back with a deuce in the eighth and steal of one in nine but would run out of rocks in the final end.

Galusha fell to 0-2 with the loss.

Next up for B.C. is Jennifer Jones’ Wild Card squad during Sunday’s evening draw, while Northwest Territories takes the ice against Newfoundland and Labrador on Monday morning.

Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville is once again back in the Scotties contention conversation after improving to 2-0 in Pool A and moving into a first-place tie with Alberta and Manitoba through the first four draws.

McCarville and her rink of Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala and lead Jennifer Gates got off to a solid start against New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford, picked up deuces in the first two ends and ended up going on to a 9-3 win.

Crawford, third Jillian Babin, second Jennifer Armstrong and lead Katie Forward picked up single points in the third and fifth ends, but Brown added one in the sixth and essentially wrapped things with a steal of three in the seventh.

“The last couple of games we’ve felt really good on the ice,” McCarville said. “The speed is really consistent, so it makes things a little bit easier when the speed was the same as last end and the paths are very similar.”
Northern Ontario faces Manitoba in a battle of 2-0 teams Monday morning, New Brunswick looks for their first win against Alberta in the evening draw.

Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt wanted nothing to do with a winless record coming out of the opening weekend and managed to avoid that fate against Nova Scotia’s Marie-Anne Arsenault.

Birt and her rink of third Marie Christianson, second Meghan Hughes and lead Michelle McQuaid posted a 7-3 win, stealing two in the first end and added another deuce in the third to go up 4-1. Arsenault got one back in the fourth, the two teams exchanged singles in the sixth and seventh and Birt closed things out with another two in the ninth.

“You don’t want to drop your first two games, so coming out even now and building on some momentum at 1-1 is a pretty good place to be,” Birt said. “It was a very strong game for us and it was good to score points in every end we had hammer, so it worked out well.”

Both teams are now 1-1 in Pool B, with P.E.I. taking on Ontario in the evening draw and Nova Scotia facing Yukon in the morning draw Monday.

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