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Saskatchewan improves to 3-1 with win over Alberta in Scotties Draw 8

Silvernagle sits in three-way tie for second place in Pool A; Ontario, Wild Card wins see three-way tie for first in Pool B, New Brunswick picks up first win
You always want to play better and better as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts moves along, and for Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle, things appear to be following that pattern.

Silvernagle and her rink of third Stephanie Lawton, second Kara Thevenot and lead Jessie Hunkin put together one of their best performances of the tournament during Draw 8 at Mosaic Place on Monday night, taking a hard-fought 7-5 win over Alberta’s Laura Walker.

“One hundred per cent, by all four of us I’d say,” Silvernagle said when asked if the outing was as good as it looked. “Jessie curled really well last night and the rest of us curled alright, but tonight was a really solid performance.”

Silvernagle actually trailed 3-2 after four ends, but a nearly perfect fifth that included a pair of outstanding shots by the Saskatchewan skip would lead to a three-ender that completely swung the game in their favour. Walker would get one back in the sixth, but Silvernagle picked up single points the next two frames to lead 7-4, and after holding Alberta to one in the ninth, ran Walker out of rocks in the final end.

“In the third end, right from the get go we came up short on the guard and were forced to play a little more offensive than we’d like to and that led to the three,” said Walker, who plays alongside third Kate Cameron, second Taylor McDonald and lead Nadine Scotland.

“We were just on the wrong side of too many shots, and not by an inch, by too much for us to have any chance to win that game.”

The win saw Saskatchewan improve to 3-1 and Alberta drop to 3-1, creating a three-way tie alongside Northern Ontario for second in Pool A behind unbeaten 4-0 Manitoba. The top four teams from each round robin pool advance to the championship pool after Draw 14 on Wednesday.

Saskatchewan is next in action against Quebec during the afternoon draw Tuesday, while Alberta faces Team Canada in the morning draw.

Jennifer Jones appears to have developed a bit of a thing for extra end games at the 2020 Scotties.

That, and giving the fans some exciting curling.

Jones and her Wild Card rink of third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Dawn McEwen played in their second 11-end contest in as many night draws, with the same result – a nail-biting win, this time 9-8 over Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt.

“It’s very exciting, we’re finding ways to win games, we just have to be a little bit sharper but we’re happy with where we’re at,” Jones said. “It’s a little stressful, I’m not going to lie, but it’s a lot of fun and that’s why we play. If it was a guarantee it wouldn’t be fun at all.”

Jones didn’t have to throw her last rock in the final end, and for the toughest of reasons for Birt: her draw to the four foot was picked up by the sweepers at the top of the house, only for a few seconds, and that little bit of work dragged her shot the slightest bit too deep, giving Jones the steal.

“It was me, I don’t know why,” Birt said with a good-natured sigh when asked who was calling the sweepers. “It was a mistake, we’ll learn from it because that’s what you do.”

Making things all the more tougher is that with the win, Birt and her rink of third Marie Christianson, second Meaghan Hughes and lead Michelle McQuaid would sit in a three-way for first place in Pool B at 3-1. Instead, Jones improved to 3-1 and Birt sits tied for fourth at 2-2.

“Absolutely, it’s upsetting when you know you have the game and you never like to lose like that, but stuff happens… we’re in a good position and we’ll build on today and going forward,” Birt said.

Jones, meanwhile, pointed to the contest as a lesson in knowing that every single team at the event can find a way to win.

“Every team out here is good and a lot of them have tons of experience, so while the media talks about certain things we know we need to come out and play our best against every team here,” said the six-time Scotties champion.

Wild Card returns to action against Northwest Territories during the afternoon draw Tuesday, P.E.I. faces Newfoundland in the morning.

It will come as no surprise to hear that Ontario’s Rachel Homan is once again in contention at the Scotties.

What might come as a surprise is just how hard she had to work to get past a team of youngsters from B.C. in their evening draw contest.

Homan and her rink of third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle scored two in the ninth and then stole one in 10 to take a 9-7 win over B.C.’s Corryn Brown, improving to 3-1 and moving into the aforementioned three-team tie with Wild Card and Nova Scotia.

“We made some great shots and we made some poor shots, that’s the way curling goes sometimes and we battled through,” Homan said. “They played a phenomenal game and we just need to get a little bit sharper. We know we can, we’re excited about getting that win and we’ll move on.”

Brown and her rink of third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes and lead Ashley Klymchuk are all 26-years-old or younger, with Hawes the youngster of the bunch at 23. Homan has been impressed with what she’s seen from the west coast crew through the early part of the week.

“We’ve been watching them and they’ve been playing well against every team in every game, so I expect they’ll be here at the end of the week, they’re a great team,” Homan said.

Brown now sits at 2-2  and in a three-way tie for fourth.

Ontario is back on the ice against Nova Scotia in Tuesday’s afternoon draw, B.C. plays in the morning against Yukon.

They might have their work cut out for them, but Andrea Crawford and her New Brunswick foursome have at least given themselves a chance at reaching the championship pool after picking up their first win on Monday night.

Crawford, third Jennifer Armstrong, second Jillian Babin and lead Katie Forward took an early lead and held off Nunavut’s Lori Eddy to take a 5-2 victory and improve to 1-3.

“Getting a bit of a lead, I think it was important for us to feel like we were getting something going early and we did and kept the momentum going,” Crawford said.

After being held to one in the first, Crawford – who curled an impressive 95 per cent in the contest – stole two in the second and added another in the fourth to build a 4-1 lead.

Eddy and her rink of third Sadie Pinksen, second Alison Griffin and lead Kaitlin MacDonald did everything they could to pick up a deuce and get back into the game, blanking the next three ends before being forced to one in the eighth. Crawford came back with a single in the ninth and ran Eddy out of rocks in the final end.

Crawford will likely need to win out and have a bit of help to have a shot at catching the top four in Pool A

“It doesn’t rank high in Scotties experiences for me, so far,” Crawford said ruefully about how things have went for her squad. “The team has been playing well, I’ve just been struggling with draw weight but was able to get that tonight and hopefully we just keep building on that.”

Nunavut dropped to 0-4 and faces Northern Ontario in Tuesday’s morning draw, New Brunswick is back in action against Manitoba in the afternoon.

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