Team Alberta skip Val Sweeting makes a shot during a afternoon draw against team Canada at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw

Alberta suffers first loss at Scotties from Lawton

Alberta’s Val Sweeting came up short in her attempt to run the table in round-robin play at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Her Draw 16 loss, however, means little at this point of the tournament. Sweeting fell to Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton 9-1 on Thursday in evening play, but had already clinched a berth in the one-two Page Playoff game set for Friday night against Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones.

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Alberta’s Val Sweeting came up short in her attempt to run the table in round-robin play at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Her Draw 16 loss, however, means little at this point of the tournament.

Sweeting fell to Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton 9-1 on Thursday in evening play, but had already clinched a berth in the one-two Page Playoff game set for Friday night against Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones.

Sweeting and Jones, both 9-1, will play twice on Friday. They’ll meet in the round-robin finale in the morning with the winner to earn the first seed.

“I think you just go hard twice,” said Jones, who won Olympic gold last year in Sochi. “You never want to let up (with) anything. We just want to go out there and play our very best.”

Jones locked up her spot with a pair of victories earlier in the day. She beat Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt 10-3 and Northern Ontario’s Tracy Horgan 6-3.

Sweeting, meanwhile, scored two in the last end for a dramatic 7-6 victory over Canada’s Rachel Homan in Draw 15 — which allowed her to move on regardless of how she fared in the evening draw with Lawton.

“It wasn’t the best throw, I’m not going to lie,” she said of the winning play against Homan. “It was a little crafty. But the girls held it so well and they’re just such good sweepers that I knew it’d be close.”

Homan, the two-time defending champion, also lost to New Brunswick’s Sylvie Robichaud 6-5 in evening play and sits in a tie for fourth spot with Horgan at 6-4.

Lawton, who also dumped Robichaud 9-4 earlier in the day, has sole possession of third at 7-3.

Ontario’s Julie Hastings (5-5), Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault (5-6), Birt (4-6), Heather Strong of Newfoundland and Labrador (4-7), are all eliminated from playoff contention as only the top four teams at the end of round-robin play advance. Robichaud is 10th in the 12-team field at 3-7.

Quebec’s Lauren Mann is next at 3-8 and B.C.’s Patti Knezevic is last at 1-10.

Regardless of the results in the last two draws, B.C. will finish last in the round robin as Quebec and New Brunswick both hold the tiebreaker advantage. As a result, B.C. will fall into the qualification round at the 2016 Scotties in Grande Prairie, Alta.

The Yukon and the Northwest Territories were eliminated in this year’s qualifier and will round out next year’s qualifier field with Nunavut, if that territory decides to participate.

Northern Ontario won this year’s qualifier to claim the last spot in the main draw.

The loser of the one-two Page Playoff game will play the winner of Saturday’s three-four Page Playoff game in the semifinal on Saturday afternoon. The winner of the one-two game advances straight to Sunday night’s final.

The winner of the Scotties will represent Canada at the March 14-22 world women’s curling championship in Sapporo, Japan.

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