OTTAWA — Having a potential game-winning shot against the Olympic champion is challenging enough for a young skip.
Throw in some frosty ice conditions and your chances get even slimmer.
It all proved to be too much for Casey Scheidegger, who gave up back-to-back steals on Tuesday afternoon to hand Jennifer Jones an 8-7 victory at the Olympic Trials. Scheidegger’s missed takeout attempt in the extra end was the difference.
“The ice was tricky in the end,” Jones said. “So we wanted to make her have to make a shot and fortunately for us, she just missed it and we got away with a steal.”
Jones (5-0) topped the women’s standings after 10 draws at Canadian Tire Centre. Calgary’s Chelsea Carey (4-0) also remained unbeaten after a 9-3 rout of Toronto’s Allison Flaxey in the morning draw.
“I didn’t expect that to be quite as easy as it was,” Carey said. “They’re a better team than that. But we’ll take it because we’ve had a couple of close nailbiters that were hard on the nerves.
“So it’s nice to have one that was a little easier.”
Scheidegger missed a chance to move into a tie with Ottawa’s Rachel Homan at 3-1. Instead, she fell to 2-2 and will have some work to do to make it to the weekend playoffs.
“Just not the greatest throw and tricky ice,” said Scheidegger, who added nerves weren’t an issue. “It happens.”
Edmonton’s Val Sweeting (2-3) stayed in the mix after topping Winnipeg’s Michelle Englot 8-5.
Calgary’s Kevin Koe was alone in first place in the men’s standings at 5-0 after topping the previously unbeaten Mike McEwen of Winnipeg 6-5.
McEwen said he was just a little off with his first throw in the eighth end and it proved costly.
“It doesn’t take much in a game like that to win or lose,” he said.
Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., dropped an 8-6 decision to Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock in the other afternoon men’s game.
Ice conditions appeared fine at the start of the draw but the frost buildup was noticeable as play continued. Wet weather and mild temperatures outside didn’t help.
Laycock gave up a steal of four points in the first end but outscored Jacobs 8-2 the rest of the way. Jacobs, who fell to 2-2, called the conditions “real bad.”
“It was an absolutely ridiculous scoreboard,” Jacobs said. “I think they got caught early due to ice conditions and we got caught late due to ice conditions. It was just too bad.”
Entering evening play, McEwen was in second place at 3-1 while Jacobs, Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers and Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., were tied at 2-2.
Carruthers, who beat Toronto’s John Epping in the morning, was scheduled to play Gushue on Tuesday night.
As the Sochi Olympic champ, Jones has been in the spotlight this week. She has been joined there by Homan, the reigning world champion and local favourite.
Carey has been just fine with flying under the radar.
“The focus really wasn’t on us, which was great,” she said. “So we just went about our business and stayed calm, stayed together as a team, learned from our misses and kept getting better and better.
“That’s what we want to keep doing.”
Homan was to play Flaxey (0-4) in the evening draw.
Round-robin play continues through Friday and the finals are scheduled for Sunday. The winners will represent Canada at the Feb. 9-25 Pyeongchang Olympics.
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