Einarson edges Ontario's Duncan to take championship pool lead at Scotties

Kerri Einarson’s sure shooting has her wild card rink leading the championship pool of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C.

Einarson’s Manitoba-based team improved to 7-1 after defeating Ontario’s Hollie Duncan 7-5 on Thursday in Canada’s women’s curling championship. Einarson’s team scored a triple in the eighth end and then she drew to the button for victory.

“She makes them all the time,” said third Selena Kaatz of the winning shot. “I had all the confidence in the world that she would make that. I wasn’t worried when she went to go throw it.”

Kaatz, playing in her second Tournament of Hearts, thinks their team didn’t have the best start but they made sure to hang in and put pressure. Kaatz said they pulled it together in the second half when they scored four points and began playing like they had all week. Momentum shifted at the fifth end break when tied at three.

“We still have more work to do and we can get better for sure,” said Kaatz. “I kind of felt the energy was a little bit low at the beginning. We just have to make sure we have the high energy the whole game for the rest of the week.”

Ontario (4-4) had qualified for the championship pool after beating Newfoundland’s Stacie Curtis 11-8 in a tiebreaker game earlier in the day.

Jones defeats Van Osch

Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones (6-2) defeated B.C.’s Kesa Van Osch (4-4), 10-3. Jones closed out the win by scoring a deuce in the eighth end. Manitoba led 5-2 after four ends.

“We kind of got a better handle on the ice today than we did last night and made some good shots and feel good going into tonight,” said Jones, a five-time Scotties champion, who will face Ontario in the evening draw.

Manitoba took a commanding lead in the sixth end when Jones drew her rock into the house to score a triple for a comfortable 8-2 lead.

Jones said it is important to win every game they can.

“You just have to get enough to get into the final four,” she said.

Big learning curve

Jones was impressed by B.C., calling them a “great young team” that she sees lots of good things in the future.

“Great hitters and the more experience they can get the better,” said the Olympic gold medallist from 2014. “I expect when I retire I will be watching them on TV.”

Van Osch of Nanaimo said playing Manitoba was a big learning curve. They decided to take some risks and knew that there was a chance Manitoba would get three.

“They are a good team. They are consistent, they are strong,” said Van Osch, whose team is 4-4. “We knew that coming in we had to bring our A game. It just wasn’t quite good enough.”

In other afternoon playoff action, Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault (6-2) defeated Team Canada’s Michelle Englot 7-1 in eight ends. Nova Scotia scored deuces in the seventh and eighth ends. Alberta’s Casey Scheidegger (7-1) defeated Northern Ontario’s Tracy Fleury (5-3) 8-4 in nine ends. Alberta scored a triple in the fifth end and had a deuce in the seventh.

Other evening draws will have Team Canada play Northern Ontario, Alberta against Nova Scotia and B.C., against Wild Card entry Einarson. The top four teams will advance to the semifinals on Sunday.

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