The Scotties field already includes Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories, Nunavut’s Jenine Bodner, Quebec’s Gabrielle Lavoie and Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones. Yukon’s Nicole Baldwin, Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island and Kelli Turpin of Newfoundland and Labrador also previously qualified. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Brothers edges Arsenault to secure host province berth at Scotties playdowns

Jill Brothers will represent host Nova Scotia at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts after a 6-5 victory over Mary-Anne Arsenault in Sunday’s provincial final at the Dartmouth Curling Club.

Brothers stole two points in the 10th end to lock up a berth in the Feb. 15-24 national women’s curling championship at Sydney’s Centre 200.

The Halifax skip made it a one-point game in the ninth by delivering a draw against four. Brothers then put the pressure on the five-time national champion in the final end.

“They had a miss at lead stones when they tapped us into the rings onto the back button,” Brothers said. “It kind of changed everything in my mind.”

The Brothers team froze a stone on top of the shot rock with guards in play. When Arsenault was wide with her final angle runback attempt, Brothers booked her ticket for a fourth career Scotties appearance.

Later in the day, Tracy Fleury defeated Kerri Einarson 13-7 to win the Manitoba title in Gimli.

Fleury gave up five points in the second end but pulled even in the sixth, added a deuce in the eighth and stole three points in the ninth when Einarson missed both of her throws.

Einarson, who beat Darcy Robertson 11-4 in a morning semifinal, is No. 2 in the Canadian Team Ranking System. She will settle for a spot in the wild-card play-in game at the national championship.

In Stettler, Chelsea Carey hit a brilliant triple-takeout to score four points for an 8-3 win over Kelsey Rocque in the Alberta final.

In Humboldt, Robyn Silvernagle edged Sherry Anderson 6-5 to take the Saskatchewan crown. Andrea Crawford took the New Brunswick title by defeating Sarah Mallais 6-3 in Moncton.

The Scotties field already includes Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories, Nunavut’s Jenine Bodner, Quebec’s Gabrielle Lavoie and Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones. Yukon’s Nicole Baldwin, Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island and Kelli Turpin of Newfoundland and Labrador also previously qualified.

Ottawa’s Rachel Homan is guaranteed the other spot in the wild-card game, which determines the 16th and final team in the field, if she doesn’t win the Ontario championship on Saturday.

Also Sunday, two more men’s teams earned berths in the Tim Hortons Brier.

Terry Odishaw will represent New Brunswick after topping James Grattan 7-4 in Moncton. Stuart Thompson took the Nova Scotia crown with a 6-4 win over Jamie Murphy in Dartmouth.

The national men’s curling championship is set for March 1-10 at Westoba Place in Brandon, Man.

Nunavut’s Dave St. Louis, P.E.I.’s John Likely, Quebec’s Martin Crete and Team Canada’s Brad Gushue have already secured spots.

Wild-card teams were added to the national championships last year. Einarson beat Carey in the women’s play-in game last year and made it all the way to the final.

Homan, meanwhile, was supposed to be Team Canada at the 2018 Scotties, but had to decline the berth after winning Canada’s Olympic spot last season.

Curling Canada announced last fall that Homan would get to play in the wild-card game if she didn’t qualify for the Scotties by winning her province. As it turned out, Homan would be assured a spot anyway because of her healthy lead atop the CTRS list.

Homan (513.711 points) is followed by Einarson (411.289) and Jones (335.285). Carey is fourth (210.416) and Alberta’s Casey Scheidegger, who was eliminated by Jodi Marthaller on Saturday, holds the fifth spot (206.045).

The men’s top five is much tighter. Alberta’s Kevin Koe (385.263) holds top spot ahead of Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs (363.465).

Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher (331.369), Ontario’s John Epping (329.682) and Gushue (321.422), from Newfoundland and Labrador, round out the top five.

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