VIRDEN, Man. -- An early alarm rang for Team Chelsea Carey at the provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts, as members risked an upset in just their second game of the women’s curling championship bonspiel.
Despite surrendering two late-game steals to La Salle’s Team Deb McCreanor, the Carey foursome hung on to win 8-7 in an extra end. They finished undefeated on the first day of play.
"It’s not exactly how we drew it up at the fifth-end break," said Carey, 29, after the game. "We just got fooled."
The game started off strong for Carey, who entered the tournament as the top-seeded skip. With the team sitting firm at 5-1 after four ends, members looked prepared to cruise to their second victory, like they did in Wednesday morning after dispatching Fort Garry Curling Club’s Team Quinn Sneisen 8-3.
But a few funky throws changed the face of the game entirely – particularly in the ninth end, when Carey’s final rock struggled to get down the house, handing McCreanor a steal of two. The La Salle skip then stole a single point in the 10th end to force the game into extra rocks. This time, Carey was able to get the point and hang onto the win.
That was the last to finish of four games in the 4 p.m. round robin draw. Also in that group, veteran Darcy Robertson scored four to close out a 12-6 shootout over Sneisen, East St. Paul skip Kerri Einarson soared 9-1 over Flin Flon’s Patricia Evans, and East St. Paul’s Kim Link eked out a 6-3 win over Balmoral’s Kate Cameron.
Those results left Carey, Einarson and Robertson sitting 2-0 atop their round-robin group’s standings, while Link split 1-1 and Evans, Cameron and Sneisen were 0-2 to start the tournament.
Sixteen competing teams looked to find their groove in the first day of round-robin competition at Virden’s Tundra Oil and Gas Place. In the first draw of the day, Einarson won the battle of East St. Paul 8-4 against Link and Cameron surged 9-2 past Evans.
Most of the fireworks in the morning were focused on the sheet, where Robertson and McCreanor schemed a tight battle. After blanking the first three ends, the teams stood tied at two in the ninth end. In the final frame, with Robertson holding the hammer, McCreanor’s double run-back attempt wrecked on a guard, giving Robertson a chance to seal the 3-2 win.
In the afternoon, the second round-robin group of eight teams played their first game. In her first women’s provincials appearances, 2013 provincial junior champion Shannon Birchard dropped an 11-6 game to veteran skip Janet Harvey, who scored four in the ninth end to win the game.
Elsewhere at Oil and Gas Place, Brandon’s Kortney Teale eked out a 7-5 win over Fort Rouge Curling Club’s Joelle Brown – to the cheer of the regional crowd – and Michelle Montford skipped her foursome to a 10-3 win over Brandon’s Kelsey Russill. Finally, veteran Barb Spencer, the second seed coming into the Scotties, dropped Dauphin’s Lisa Menard 6-2.
The fourth draw is set to kick off tonight at 8:15 p.m. The bonspiel round-robin continues through Saturday morning. The top two teams from each round-robin group will move onto the playoffs, with the first-place finishers in each group playing each other for a bye to Sunday afternoon’s final and the second-place finishers playing each other for a spot in the semifinal.