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Ontario's Flaxey hopes to play Scotties giant-killer after upsetting Alberta

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MONTREAL - Ontario's Allison Flaxey defeated Alberta's Val Sweeting 7-5 in a major upset Wednesday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Flaxey (2-5) held off a charge that saw Alberta (6-3) score two in the ninth end. She took out Sweeting's stone on the button in the 10th to prevent a steal and secure the victory.

"We haven't been playing as well as we could have all week," said Flaxey, the 2001 Manitoba junior champion now based out of Listowel, Ont. "To show that we are a good, solid team and that we belong with the favourites and can play with the favourites, it shows people why we're here."

Ontario is all but eliminated from playoff contention, but can still play the role of giant-killer with four round-robin games remaining.

"It's all we have left so you've got to love doing it," said Flaxey. "I hope to be here doing it for the rest of the week.

"We've got a couple of tough ones left and hopefully we can at least shake things up."

The afternoon draw saw defending champion Rachel Homan's Canada rink (7-0) continue its winning ways with a 7-3 victory over British Columbia's Kesa Van Osch (5-4).

Homan has a shot at being the first skip to go undefeated in the tournament since B.C.'s Linda Moore in 1985. Jennifer Jones went undefeated in the round robin last year but lost to Homan in the final.

"I'm confident we can win the rest of our games," said Homan. "You have to be confident in your abilities.

"You put in the practice and the hours and the work. I believe 100 per cent in our team. We're in a good spot now and we have to keep playing the way we're playing."

Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton (6-1) posted a 7-3 win over Newfoundland's Heather Strong (4-4).

And Manitoba's Chelsea Carey (6-1) had some wondering if curling needs a mercy rule after her squad's 15-3 win over Quebec's Allison Ross (1-8). It was Quebec's worse beating since a 13-1 setback to Alberta in 1991 with a team that included 2014 Scotties tournament director Francine Poisson.

A rule obliges teams to play at least eight ends no matter how badly they're trailing.

"I'm not so sure I believe in the eight-end rule," said Manitoba third Kristy McDonald. "If things aren't going well, the other team should be able to get out when they feel it's time.

"They're a good team. They're much better than that. But they're just having a tough go. When things go sour, they go sour."

Ross had plenty of support among the 1,790 spectators at the Paul Maurice Arena, but her squad has been off the target consistently all week. She was also missing second Brittany O'Rourke to the flu bug that has sidelined several players and officials during the week.

"Today's game was tough for sure," said Ross, whose team also lost 6-5 to B.C. in the morning draw. "This morning I still felt good with the game.

"We played well and made (Van Osch) throw a difficult last rock, and she made it. But this was tough. We didn't play well at all."

Manitoba took the opportunity to get alternate Breanne Meakin into a match for a few ends to keep her sharp in case she's needed later in the event.

Other early matches saw Alberta top Newfoundland 9-5, New Brunswick beat P.E.I. 9-6 and Nova Scotia down Yukon 7-3.

Top teams Canada, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are all scheduled to play later Wednesday night.

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