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Saskatchewan’s Silvernagle posts win over Nunavut in Scotties Draw 5

Three teams unbeaten in Pool A, four-team logjam at 2-1 on top of Pool B
Team Nunavut has rapidly evolved into something like Mike McD from the movie Rounders at the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

They just keep hanging around, hanging around no matter who their opponent is, keeping the pressure and finding ways to stay in the game.

So while Lori Eddy, third Sadie Pinksen, second Alison Griffin and lead Kaitlin MacDonald might have fallen to 0-3 with an 11-8 loss to Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle during the fifth draw on Sunday night, it was still a plenty entertaining game.

“We wanted to come here and be competitive and make teams earn wins against us,” said Eddy whose crew were named Nunavut’s representatives by acclamation and played fewer than a dozen games together leading up to the Scotties “We’re a new team and we haven’t played a lot together, but the team dynamic is so strong with all of us it’s really been great.”

Nunavut opened the contest with as good a start as they could have hoped for, taking one in the first end and then building a 4-0 lead with a steal of three the very next frame.

“Honestly, when we got that lead we pretended the game was still tied because we’re never mentally ready to have a lead like that against these tough teams,” Eddy said with a good-natured laugh. “So we were happy that the game was fairly close and we were in it.”

Silvernagle and her team of third Stefanie Lawton, second Jessie Hunkin and lead Kara Thevenot have been here and done this before, though, and once they got things going they really got things going: Saskatchewan got back to within one with three in the third end and then set things up perfectly for a steal of three when Eddy’s final shot came up light. Nunavut got one back in the fifth, but a Silvernagle deuce in six made it 8-5 and after another single by Eddy, a three-spot in the eighth put Team Sask up 11-6.

Nunavut picked up a deuce in the ninth to get slightly back in touch, but Silvernagle played the final end clean enough to run Eddy out of rocks,

“We struggled little bit at the beginning but, hey, we need to be patient, 10 ends is long and we waited for our chances and took them when we got them,” Silvernagle said. “We just weren’t quite as precise, the ice was tricking us a little bit so once we got going it was fine.”

Saskatchewan improved to 2-1 and sits in fourth in Pool A heading into action Monday.

They now have most of the day off Monday before taking on Alberta in the evening draw, while Nunavut is also back on the ice at 6:30 p.m. against New Brunswick.

Alberta’s Laura Walker is in the perfect position after the first weekend at Mosaic Place.

Walker and her team of third Kate Cameron, second Taylor McDonald and lead Nadine Scotland rolled to an 8-3 win over New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford in the evening draw to improve to 3-0 and hold down first place in the Pool A.

“We wanted to come out strong, every win here is so big with our record carrying over,” Walker said of the fast start. “Obviously you have to make the championship pool and you take the losses with you, so every win you can get is huge.”

Crawford, Jennifer Armstrong, Jillian Babin and Katie Forward picked up one in the first end, but it was all Walker from there as she scored one in the first before stealing deuces the next two ends for a 5-1 lead after four. Two more in six made it 7-2, and after exchanging single points the next two ends, the two teams shook hands.

“We’re just making the shots that matter,” Walker said of her key to success. “We’re not making everything, but we’re making the ones we need too, whenever we need a big shot, whatever player has it in front of them pulls through and puts us in a good position.”

New Brunswick fell to 0-3 with the loss.

Wild Card representative Jennifer Jones as been in the ‘last shot, draw the four for the win’ many times in her career, and with her history of success, she’s obviously made more than she’s missed.

Monday night, she was once again true to form when it mattered against B.C.’s Corryn Brown.

Facing a house full of rocks a shot to score two for the win, Jones drew full four for the deuce and an 11-10 win in a crazy back and forth contest.

“Exciting?” Jones laughed when asked about the battle. “It got the adrenaline going a little bit and it’s always nice to win a game on last rock. We said when we were down 6-1 that at the end of the week we were going to talk about this as one of the games we found a way to win, and we found a way to win.”

Yes, down 6-1. Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Dawn McEwen surrendered three in the first, gave up a steal in the second and two more in the fourth to find themselves with a serious hole to dig out of.

Three in the fifth got some of it back, and a massive steal of four the next end suddenly saw Jones holding an 8-6 lead.

“We are proud of that,” Jones said of never being out of games. “We never give up, we always fight to the bitter end and try and make some good ones and we did that in the game and got the steal of four. We still had to make the last shot to win, but it was fun… sort of.”

Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hayes and lead Ashley Klymchuk tied the game with two in the seventh and after holding Jones to one in eight, took a 10-9 edge into the final frame, leading to Jones’ last shot heroics.

The result – combined with P.E.I.’s win over Ontario (see below) – created a four team logjam with in Pool B with P.E.I., Ontario, B.C. and Wild Card all tied at 2-1.

Jones next takes on P.E.I in Monday’s evening draw, B.C. takes on Ontario in the same 8:30 tilt.

Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt is plenty familiar with winning on the national scene, but you won’t find a much more impressive win than what she put together on Monday during Draw 5.

Birt – a two-time world junior medalist as Suzanne Gaudet – outduelled Ontario’s Rachel Homan to take a 9-8 win in the final game of the day.

It was plenty dramatic, too, as Homan’s last shot drifted just a touch over the t-line in the four foot. Birt would make no mistake, using the counter as backing and grabbing a piece of the button for the win.

“It’s a good test of the nerves, for sure,” said Birt, playing with third Marie Christianson, second Meaghan Hughes and lead Michelle McQuaid.  “It’s always nice to have an open shot on your last one and to pull it off, it was a great team shot and a great effort.”

With Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle holding a 2-1 lead, the two teams would exchange single deuces all the way until the 10th end when Homan took one out of a cluttered house to tie the game 8-8.

“You want to win as many games as you can in the round robin, especially in a back-and-forth game like this,” Birt said. “You just work through the little kinks here and there build and build and build.”

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