Manitoba 8 Saskatchewan 7
In hockey terms, four in four is a nasty road trip.
Four in four is no walk in the park for competitive curlers, either.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan hooked up in the fourth game in as many draws for both teams in Scotties Tournament of Hearts action Tuesday at the Centrium, and it was Jennifer Jones’ Winnipeg foursome that had the little extra staying power, slipping past Michelle Englot’s Regina rink 8-7 in an extra end.
“A four-game stretch is always a long kind of a grind, so we’re just happy to be done. We’re happy with the two wins today and this was a nice way to finish it off, with a tight game,” said Jones, who defeated Heather Smith-Dacey of Nova Scotia 8-3 in a morning draw and then improved to 5-2 with the afternoon win over Saskatchewan.
Jones trailed 4-3 after five ends, but when Englot stuck her takeout on a hit-and-roll attempt with her final stone of the sixth frame, she left Jones with a double kill for two and the three-time Canadian champ made no mistake.
Manitoba stole one in the seventh when Englot was heavy with a final-rock draw, and after the teams exchanged single points in the eighth and ninth ends, Saskatchewan struck for a deuce in the 10th to pull even at 7-7. But Englot was left with little opportunity to steal in the extra frame and fell to 4-3 with the loss.
While they’re just over a little over halfway through round-robin play, Jones insisted that she and her rinkmates aren’t looking at the overall length of the schedule.
“You just kind of look at it as one game at a time,” she said. “We knew this was going to be a really long stretch with the four games. You go late one day, then early the next, and you don’t get a lot of sleep. So we’re going to have a nice relaxing night tonight and hopefully come out rested tomorrow (today at 8:30 a.m. versus Kelly Scott of B.C.)”
Jones, who is notorious for picking up steam as the Scotties week progresses, likes how her squad has performed to date.
“I feel like we’ve been fairly consistent, but I do think we’re getting better,” she said. “And we’ll have to get even better. That’s the way this event works — you have to be at your best in the playoffs and hopefully we’ll do that.”
The back-to-back victories were extra satisfying for Jones and company, considering the manner in which they lost to Amber Holland and Team Canada Monday night, with a burnt rock resulting in a steal of two in the setback.
“I thought we played quite well this morning against Nova Scotia,” said the skip. “Last night was just one loss. It was an unfortunate game for us, but we’re a team and we stick together and I’m really proud of how the girls came out today.”
Englot, who scored four in the eighth end in the morning draw and rolled over Rebecca Atkinson’s New Brunswick entry 11-6, insisted she didn’t feel the pain of playing in four successive draws Monday afternoon, at least not during the game.
“It’s a long day, but we knew what we faced coming into this — we had four draws in a row and this was our fourth,” she said. “It gets to be a long haul, but still, you’re not tired during the game. After we’re done, it’s like ‘oh my gawd’.
“We knew we would have a tough game against Jennifer and I think for the most part we played really well. So we just need to continue building off the good things and continue to come out strong. If you look at the pack, it’s already moving down. A team at 6-5 will probably even make a tie-breaker, depending on what happens in the last part of the week.
“We’re playing well and we’ll come out strong tomorrow (this morning against Alberta) and hopefully get on a roll.”