Rock stars: Birt's P.E.I. rink wins record-setter over N.B. at Scotties

SYDNEY, N.S. — After a blanked first end, nobody was predicting a record score in the game between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick Tuesday afternoon at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 

But after that cautious start, a back and forth of granite blows led to the highest scoring game in Scotties history. 

Suzanne Birt's team from P.E.I. scored a single point in an extra end to defeat N.B.'s Andrea Crawford rink 13-12. The 25 points between the two teams surpassed the previous record of 23, set in 1988 and matched in 2009. 

"It was a roller-coaster game. A lot of missed shot and made shots," Birt said after the marathon match. "The fans got their money's worth today."

It looked as though P.E.I. was going to cruise to victory after stealing five points in the second end. But New Brunswick wouldn't go away.  

WATCH | Birt, Crawford combine for highest scoring game at Scotties:

Prince Edward Island's Suzanne Birt edges New Brunswick's Andrea Crawford 13-12 in Draw 10. The combined points of 25 sets a new record for the highest-scoring game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 1:01

New Brunswick erased deficits of 5-0, 8-4 and 12-9, scoring three in the 10th to tie the game 12-12 and send it into extras. 

Birt said she can't remember ever playing in a game that featured such dramatic swings. 

"I think you just have to go back to basics. Take a deep breath and do what you're familiar with. Just try to make shots," she said. 

With the win, Birt's team is tied atop the Pool B standings with Casey Scheiddeger's Team Wild Card at 4-1. Both have two games remaining in the preliminary round. 

"We were here trying to get the best record going forward so our record is good right now but we have to stay focused," Birt said. 

WATCH | Wild Card Scheidegger defeats N.W.T.'s Galusha, tied for 1st in Pool B: 

Wild Card Casey Scheidegger beats North West Territories' Kerry Galusha 6-5 in Draw 10 at Scotties. Scheidegger improves to 4-1, Galusha falls to 3-2. 0:39

Birt's wasn't the only wild affair Tuesday afternoon. 

Jennifer Jones scored five points in the first end against Yukon but it was a grind the rest of the way. At one point Yukon closed the gap to 7-5 before Jones finally closed out the game, 9-7.

"The ice was curling a bit more so you can actually make some finesse shots which earlier in the week we couldn't. It was more fun," Jones said. 

The win improves Team Canada's record to 3-2 after Jones lost both games on Monday. 

Jones credited the five-rock rule for the high scoring. It's the first year for the new rule at the women's national championship. 

"The five-rock rule is great," she said. "I think it's way better. It keeps a lot of rocks in play. But to be honest I think the scores today was because of the curl in the ice."

Also, Saskatchewan defeated Newfoundland and Labrador 8-4 to improve to 3-2 and Scheidegger defeated Northwest Territories 6-5 to move to 4-1. 

In total, 64 points were scored across the four sheets on Tuesday afternoon. 

WATCH | Northern Ontario's McCarville beats B.C.'s Wark at Scotties:

Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville defeats British Columbia's Sarah Wark 8-7 in Draw 9 at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 0:37

"Something in the water, maybe? I'm not sure what led to it but a lot of shots missed and made," said Saskatchewan skip Robyn Silvernagle. 

Scheidegger said the teams are still trying to figure out the ice and it's leading to some explosive scoring. 

"I think it's just struggling with the ice a little bit. High pressure. I know ourselves included it took us a while to figure it out. I think that could be part of it," she said. 

Ontario skip Rachel Homan delivers a rock against Manitoba on Tuesday morning at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sydney, N.S. Homan suffered her first loss at the event, 6-5 to Manitoba’s Tracy Fleury. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

In Pool A play, Rachel Homan suffered her first loss at the Scotties.

The Ontario skip dropped a 6-5 decision to former provincial rival Tracy Fleury, now representing Manitoba, in the morning draw.

Homan (4-1), a three-time Canadian champion, couldn't hold onto a 4-1 lead after scoring three in the second end and one in the third.

It was a much-needed victory for Fleury (3-2), who has now won three in a row.

Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville and B.C.'s Sarah Wark are locked in a three-way tie for third in Pool A. McCarville beat Wark 8-7 in an extra end on Tuesday morning to cause the logjam.

Alberta's Chelsea Carey (5-0) pulled in front of Homan for top spot in Pool A after a 10-5 win over Nunavut's Jenine Bodner.

In the other morning game, host Nova Scotia picked up its first win as Jill Brothers downed Quebec's Gabrielle Lavoie 7-4.

Another Pool A draw was scheduled for Tuesday evening.

The top four teams from each pool in the preliminary round will qualify for the championship round starting Thursday. The playoffs start Saturday and the final will be played Sunday.

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