Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Einarson the story, but Carey still No. 1 target

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VIRDEN, Man. -- In the early days of this Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the headlines and questions lit on Chelsea Carey, top seed and sparkplug star.

That fifth-seed Kerri Einarson curled to six straight wins without this fanfare, becoming the last undefeated skip of 16 playing at Tundra Oil and Gas Place on Friday, well, that suited her just fine.

"I may be undefeated, but Chelsea Carey's still the No. 1 seed, and everyone still wants to really beat her," Einarson said, after clawing out a 5-4 win over veteran Darcy Robertson in the 10th draw of the bonspiel.

She'll get that chance today, as she faces Carey in the final round-robin match. East St. Paul's Einarson, who defeated Balmoral's Kate Cameron Friday night -- and who was back on the ice just six weeks after giving birth to twin daughters in September -- is coming in hot.

If that fifth win was a test, Einarson's rink passed. It came down to the final stone: With the score tied 4-4 in the 10th end, Einarson had to slip a delicate draw past four of Robertson's red rocks that clogged the front of the house. It rolled in perfectly, and the win guaranteed her at least a tiebreaker game. "I had my draw weight all game, so I felt pretty confident," she said.

That's a confidence Team Einarson brought into the Scotties. They're a fresh team, pulled together just this year, as Einarson scooped up third Selena Kaatz and lead Kristen MacCuish in their first year out of junior. Einarson liked how they threw, but more than that, she dug their attitudes.

"Even if the outcome isn't right, then they still have smiles on their faces, which is nice to see," Einarson said. "They make it like, 'whatever, we'll get the next one.' "

How time flies: Once upon a time, Kaatz carried Einarson's banner into a championship in Beausejour while the 26-year-old skip was starting out in junior. Now, they're plotting strategies together, and the results have been electric. The new rink curled a strong season, and they've been shooting strong as this week in Virden rolls on. That means more pressure is beginning to swirl on them, to which Einarson's response is simple: Bring it on.

"I love all the pressure," she said. "I love to play under that pressure, and make those shots."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2014 C4

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