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Teams set for Scotties playoffs

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Dauphin’s Lisa Menard (pictured) fell 7-6 to  Manitoba junior champion Shannon Birchard this morning.

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN FILES Enlarge Image

Dauphin’s Lisa Menard (pictured) fell 7-6 to Manitoba junior champion Shannon Birchard this morning.

VIRDEN, Man. — After orchestrating a big comeback against Balmoral’s Kate Cameron this afternoon, Chelsea Carey was smiling again at the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The 29-year-old skip, who came into the provincial women’s curling championship as top seed, was still reeling after a blowout 11-3 loss on Thursday evening to Kim Link. And although the game started off shaky – Carey found herself down 1-4 after four ends – her foursome rebounded in the second half, potting a seventh-end deuce and stealing two singles in a row to carry a 7-5 lead into the 10th end.

There, Carey threw a magnificent raise double takeout to clear Cameron’s rocks from the house, then ran Cameron out of rocks to bring on the handshakes.

Now with a 4-1 record through the round-robin and two games yet to play, Carey is tied with Darcy Robertson in her round-robin group’s standings – though with those two teams set to face each other tonight, that stalemate won’t last. Above them in the standings is Kerri Einarson, now the lone undefeated skip in the Scotties at 5-0, after emerging victorious from a 5-4 nailbiter against Robertson this afternoon.

While the two teams carried a 4-4 tie home, Einarson had to make a tricky draw around a quartet of Robertson’s rocks in the front of the house to pick up the winning point.

Play at Tundra Oil and Gas Place opened this morning with a thriller, as veteran skip Barb Spencer fell 6-5 in an extra end to Fort Rouge Curling Club’s Joelle Brown. The loss is Spencer’s first of the tournament, as she now sits at 4-1 on the week, while Brown improved to 3-2.

Now, Spencer has company at the top of her round-robin group, as her one-time junior teammate Janet Harvey dispatched Michelle Montford 6-2 to rise to 4-1 on the week. Montford fell to 3-2. Also in the morning draw, two-time Manitoba junior champion Shannon Birchard found her first win of the Scotties, eking out a 7-6 victory over Dauphin’s Lisa Menard, and Kelsey Russill won the battle of Brandon 7-6 over Kortney Teale.

That leaves Spencer and Harvey occupying the top spots in their round-robin group. After the round robin ends tomorrow, the top two finishers will move on to the playoffs.

After a rough patch halfway through the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Michelle Montford now controls her own destiny with just one game left to go.

On Friday evening, Montford shut down a 10-end steal attempt by her fellow Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club colleague, veteran Barb Spencer, to win the match 7-6. After suffering a rough loss to Janet Harvey in the morning, and a tough upset to Brandon’s Kortney Teale on Thursday night, Montford’s playoff dreams came roaring back to life.

She and Spencer are now tied at 4-2 in their round-robin group’s standings, just below Harvey, who has curled to a 5-1 record through the week. Spencer and Harvey are set to do battle tomorrow, while Montford will face Fort Rouge’s Joelle Brown on Saturday.

Elsewhere in the evening draw, Harvey beat Brown 6-5, while Teale beat Shannon Birchard (who at 1-5 is officially out of playoff contention) and Brandon’s Kelsey Russill dispatched Dauphin’s Lisa Menard (also out of the playoff race) 10-4.

Playoffs are set to begin Saturday afternoon.

History

Updated on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM CST: Writethru after afternoon draw.

8:15 PM: Updates after draw.

9:11 PM: Changes headline.

January 11, 2014 at 9:35 AM: Removes reference to Montford playing a tiebreaker against the loser of the Spencer-Harvey match.

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