Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Last perfect skip pulls for Manitoban's team

Now a TSN analyst, Moore praises Jones Scotties' unbeaten round-robin 6

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KINGSTON, ONT. -- There will be a certain symmetry at play at the Canadian women's curling championship today if Manitoba's Jennifer Jones wins both her games and finishes the round robin undefeated with a perfect 11-0 record.

If she can pull it off, she would become the first team to go undefeated in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts round robin since 1985, when Linda Moore's B.C. team went on an undefeated run during a memorable week inside the cosy confines of the old Winnipeg Arena.

So not only would a very rare piece of curling history that was last written in Manitoba get rewritten here today by a Manitoba team, but it would also play out in front of the woman who last authored the trick -- Moore, who is here this week doing her customary on-air analysis duties for TSN.

"Jennifer is a great curler and she has a tremendous team and I'd have no problem at all if she was to do that," Moore said yesterday.

"I just think it would be a wonderful thing if it happens again."

While 15 teams have gone undefeated through the Brier round robin -- most recently Alberta's Kevin Martin, who did it back-to-back in 2008 and 2009 -- just six teams have ever done it at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and none in the 28 years since Moore accomplished it.

"We actually hadn't lost in winning our province that year either," Moore recalled, "and so we just had this string of wins that we'd put together. And at some point, it did seem like there was some magic going -- we got breaks when we needed them, we got big shots when we needed them, and it was just pretty special.

"It's just so hard to string wins like that together. Kevin Martin has obviously done it a couple of times recently, but you do need some things to happen and get a few breaks here and there. And your team has to stay focused and not get distracted by the fact you have a string of wins going.

"Because it's not important to go undefeated at these events. All that matters is that you get to the final and then put it together."

Indeed, even if Jones should rewrite some curling history by finishing the round robin undefeated today, it will mean nothing if she cannot advance to the final and win it.

Jones, who often speaks at these events about losses serving as needed wake-up calls for her team, says she doesn't feel like such a jolt is necessary this week, adding she'd be very happy to go into Sunday evening's final while riding what would be a 12-game undefeated streak at that point. "The more wins, the better. I never think a loss is a bad thing, but if we don't lose, it's fine, we'll be OK," she said.

"We had one loss at our provincials, and that kind of gave us a kick in the pants. And right now, I feel like we're playing well and we don't need another kick in the pants. Hopefully, that's true."

With wins over New Brunswick this afternoon and Saskatchewan tonight, Manitoba's Jennifer Jones and her team have a chance to become just the seventh team in history to go undefeated in the round robin at the Canadian women's curling championship.

Here's the list of the previous six undefeated teams, the years they accomplished it and the number of games they won to go undefeated:

1961 Saskatchewan: Joyce McKee (9-0)

1962 British Columbia: Ina Hansen (9-0)

1966 Alberta: Gail Lee (9-0)

1967 Manitoba: Betty Duguid (9-0)

1974 Saskatchewan: Emily Farnham (9-0)

1985 British Columbia: Linda Moore (11-0) *Moore's tally of wins included a 10-0 record in the round robin as well as a win in the playoff final. There were no playoffs and only a nine-game round robin when the other teams accomplished their marks. These days, teams at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts must play an 11-game round robin and then win the Page playoff 1 vs. 2 game and the final to go undefeated through the entire event, a total of 13 wins.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2013 0

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