Alberta’s Carey earns playoff advantage at Canadian women’s curling championship

By , on February 25, 2016

Chelsea Carey (center). (Photo courtesy of the official Twitter account of TSN Curling)
Chelsea Carey (center).
(Photo courtesy of the official Twitter account of TSN Curling)

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta.—Alberta’s Chelsea Carey hopes her curling team regained their early-tournament form in time for playoffs at the Canadian women’s curling championship.

The host province not only clinched a playoff berth Thursday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but Alberta also earned a spot in the playoff game between the top two seeds.

“Our first goal obviously is to make the playoffs,” Carey said. “The second goal is to be in the one-two game and give yourself that extra life. Mostly today we just wanted to come out and play better. We’ve been struggling a little bit.”

Alberta downed Nova Scotia’s Jill Brothers 8-2 to get to a record of 8-2. The Calgary team was guaranteed a top-two finish in the preliminary round with one more game to play at night against Saskatchewan.

The round robin concludes Friday morning with the top four teams advancing to the Page playoff. Ties for fourth are solved by tiebreaker games.

The teams finishing first and second meet in Friday night’s playoff game with the winner advancing directly to Sunday’s final. The loser drops to Saturday’s semifinal to face the winner of an earlier the playoff between the third and fourth seeds.

Carey, third Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Laine Peters out of the Glencoe Club opened the Tournament of Hearts a torrid 6-0 before losing two of three.

“It’s been a bit of a weird one,” the skip said. “We started out really well and then we kind of struggled through the middle part and then picked it up yesterday and even more again this morning.

“We feel we’re kind of back in the form we had at the start of the week, which is what we wanted to see.”

Defending champion Jennifer Jones downed Kerri Einarson 8-4 in a Manitoba duel to get to 7-2 with two games to play.

Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville bounced back from a double-loss day with a pair of victories Thursday to improve to 7-3.

“We needed that because we’re getting closer and we need to be picking up our game and I think we have today,” McCarville said.

The Thunder Bay team finishes up against Ontario’s Jenn Hanna on Friday morning.

“Actually Jenn Hanna beat me in the provincial final in 2005, so it would be good to play her again,” McCarville said.

“Haven’t played her awhile. I’ve played her in a couple of provincials after that. That’s the big game that sticks out in my head always.”

Team still in the playoff hunt at four losses were Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan’s Jolene Campbell. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt at five losses needed other teams to lose to get into tiebreakers.

Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche lost both games Thursday to fall to 4-6. Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador was 3-7. B.C.’s Karla Thompson and New Brunswick’s Sylvie Robichaud were tied at 2-8.

The province that finishes last in the preliminary round will have to play in next year’s pre-tournament qualifier against Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut to gain entry into the main draw in St. Catharines, Ont.

This year’s champion represents Canada at the women’s world championship March 19-27 in Swift Current, Sask., and wears the Maple Leaf at next year’s Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines, Ont.