VIRDEN, Man. -- The pressure on Chelsea Carey cranked up just a little more on Thursday, as the favoured skip suffered her first loss at the Manitoba Scotties.
'My team's been shooting the lights out, and we've had two tough losses.
We just thought, we have nothing to lose, so let's go for it'
In an evening upset, Carey and her crew of lead Lindsay Titheridge, second Kristen Foster and third Kristy McDonald fell 10-3 to East St. Paul Curling Club skip Kim Link, whose foursome shot clean and drummed up a huge lead to force handshakes after the eighth end. Credit to the victor: at 1-2 through the first three games of the provincial women's curling championship, Link was desperate for the win. The fact that Carey was the opponent didn't intimdate one bit.
"We've been playing fantastic," said Link, whose other win came against Balmoral's Kate Cameron on the first day of play at Tundra Oil and Gas Place. "My team's been shooting the lights out, and we've had two tough losses. We just thought, we have nothing to lose, so let's go for it and keep playing the way we've been playing. It seemed to work."
For the Carey foursome, who came into the Scotties as top seed, the loss doesn't mean it's time to hit the panic button, yet. Although they fell to 3-1 -- leaving veteran Darcy Robertson and East St. Paul's Kerri Einarson the lone undefeated teams in their round-robin group through four games -- Carey is set to face Robertson tonight, and Einarson in tomorrow. If she wins both, and her afternoon game today against Kate Cameron (2-2), she will get at least a tiebreaker.
As for Thursday's doozy, Titheridge kept it in perspective. "I don't think we were throwing them that bad, just wrong side of the inch here and there, and disastrous results," she said. "Kim's team played unreal... they didn't give us any chances. We knew coming into this game, nothing's a give-me."
Earlier on Thursday, veteran curler Barb Spencer quietly set a new record, becoming the most winning player in the history of the provincial championship.
Spencer, 47, sealed the 96th win of her Scotties career with a 5-2 victory over Brandon's Kortney Teale, breaking the record held by Cathy Overton-Clapham. Though she now has a shot to break the 100-win mark in the same town she won her first Scotties in 1986, Spencer took the milestone in stride. "I don't think too much about it," she said. "We're out here just trying to win one game at a time... the most wins is just a little added bonus."
The win also raised Team Spencer to a perfect 3-0 record to start the round robin, after surviving an electrifying challenge from Brandon's Kelsey Russill on Wednesday night. She was joined at the top of her round-robin group by third-seed Michelle Montford, who was also undefeated through three, with veteran Janet Harvey sitting at 2-1 after losing a wild 9-8 game to Dauphin's Lisa Menard in a Thursday afternoon upset.
That round-robin group was playing their fourth game of the bonspiel at press time on Thursday night.
Sixteen teams qualified to the Scotties, split into two round-robin groups of eight teams each. The top two finishers from each group will move onto the playoffs on Saturday, with the first-place finishers battling for a bye to Sunday's final, and the second-place finishers playing for a spot in the semifinal.