Team Wild Card 2 skip Jennifer Jones watches her shot during the wild card game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Friday. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Jones gains entry into Hearts field, beats Fleury 8-7 in wild-card game

Jones 8 Fleury 7

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Jennifer Jones can win a seventh Canadian women’s curling championship in the same place she won her fifth.

Jones defeated Tracy Fleury 8-7 in Friday’s wild-card game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Jones, vice Kaitlyn Lawes and front end Jocelyn Peterman and Dawn McEwen advanced to Saturday’s main draw in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Jones won her fifth national title at Mosaic Place in 2015.

“It was a great moment for us when we won here,” Jones said. “We were really excited to come back and wanted to stay for the week.”

Jones, 45, will make her 15th Hearts appearance.

The skip’s voice cracked when she observed it will the first since her father Larry died last year at age 80.

“I know he’s looking down,” Jones said. “I never, ever dreamed I’d be in one, never mind 15. It’s pretty crazy. We were playing well enough to be here and I’m happy that we’re here.”

The wild-card, play-in game was introduced to the national men’s and women’s curling championships in 2018.

The two top-ranked women’s teams in Curling Canada’s Canadian Team Rankings System (CTRS) that didn’t win their province or territory got another chance at the Hearts in the sudden-death play-in game.

Jones was beaten in the Manitoba final by Kerri Einarson.

So it was No. 1 Fleury versus No. 3 Jones in Friday’s all-Winnipeg matchup.

Fleury scored three in the ninth end to draw even.

Jones had last-rock advantage coming home. The skip drew against two Fleury counters for the win.

“You’re playing some of the best teams in the world, so it’s tough,” said Fleury, whose team will head home.

Jones struggled early, but scored three in the fifth end to lead 5-3.

She’s worn Team Canada and Manitoba colours multiple times at the national championships. Their wild-card kits are a moss green hue.

“We’re in Saskatchewan and it’s kind of green so maybe we’ll pick up a few fans,” Jones quipped.

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