Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson makes a shot against Team Northern Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Quebec rookies hit their stride in national women’s curling championship

Quebec rookies hit their stride in national women’s curling championship

CALGARY — Quebec’s rookie team at the Canadian women’s curling championship injected intrigue into its pool Monday.

Laurie St-Georges handed Wild Card One its first loss. Quebec pulled the foursome skipped Chelsea Carey back into the pack with an 8-7 win, which put both teams at 3-1.

Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt also won Monday to join them in a three-way tie atop Pool B.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is running in a spectator-free, controlled environment to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

St-George and her front end of Emily Riley and sister Cynthia St-George are just two years removed from the junior ranks.

They along with vice Hailey Armstrong are taking an unusual Hearts debut in stride.

“We made our goal, honestly, to have fun and make good shots,” Armstrong said. “We want to work well together at our first Scotties and enjoy the experience.”

The top four teams in each pool of nine advance to the championship round starting Friday and carry their records with them.

The top three from the championship round will be Sunday’s playoff teams, with the No. 1 seed earning a bye to the final.

After losing to six-time champion Jennifer Jones of Manitoba in their first ever game at the Hearts, Quebec has strung together three straight wins.

“We’re just having fun and we’re living in the moment,” Armstrong said. “We’re just breathing between every shot and just working as a team.”

The lone Quebec team to win a national women’s curling championship was Lee Tobin’s in 1975.

Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson also contributed to Pool B’s drama by edging Jones 5-4 on Monday.

Manitoba was 2-2, while Saskatchewan pulled even with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Sarah Hill at 2-1.

“To come out after three games two and one, I’m OK with that,” said Anderson.

Birt recovered from giving up a steal of two in the 10th to St-Georges the previous evening to down Newfoundland’s Hill 12-8.

“We regrouped after last night,” Birt said. “It’s a heartbreaking moment when you lose a game that way, but you also learn so many things from it.”

B.C.’s Corryn Brown picked up her first win of the tournament beating Nunavut’s Lori Eddy 11-2 to get to 1-2.

“It’s definitely nice to get that monkey off our back for sure,” Brown said. “We came up against two good teams in our first two games.

“I definitely wasn’t executing as I wanted to, so this was a nice confidence boost, this game, to get some good shots in there and hopefully build from this game.”

New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams and Nunavut were winless in Pool B.

Defending champion Kerri Einarson topped Pool A at 4-0 on Monday.

Canada doubled Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories 8-4 in a morning game that was rescheduled from Saturday when Galusha’s vice Jo-Ann Rizzo was ill.

Einarson had Monday evening off, while Ontario’s Rachel Homan (3-0) looked to also remain unbeaten.

Alberta’s Laura Walker was 3-1 ahead of Nova Scotia’s Jill Brothers at 2-2.

Galusha, Northern Ontario’s Krista Burns and MacKenzie Zacharias’s Wild Card Two team were all 1-2.

Wild Card Three skipped by Beth Peterson was 1-3. Yukon’s Laura Eby was still looking for her first win.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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