Holland gets Canada back on track

The locomotive known as Team Canada was derailed for two draws but was back on track Wednesday afternoon at the Centrium.

The locomotive known as Team Canada was derailed for two draws but was back on track Wednesday afternoon at the Centrium.

“We were pretty pleased with how we executed this afternoon,” said skip Amber Holland, whose foursome snapped a two-game Scotties Tournament of Hearts losing streak with a 10-4, eight-end thumping of Kim Dolan and Prince Edward Island.

“Obviously Kim’s team didn’t execute as well so it made it a little easier for us. We positioned rocks really well and played well.”

After falling 8-5 to Marie-France Larouche of Quebec Tuesday night and losing 7-6 to Nova Scotia’s Heather Smith-Dacey Wednesday morning, Holland and Co. were razor-sharp against P.E.I., shooting 85 per cent as a team while improving to 6-3 and moving into a second-place tie with B.C.’s Kelly Scott after 12 draws.

“We felt a lot more loose this last game,” said Holland, whose team played the last of four games in as many draws. “We knew we were at the end of our four in four and we just wanted to make sure we were focusing on the rocks and hitting the broom with the right weight.”

Neither Team Canada nor B.C. played Wednesday night.

“It’s going to be nice to have a night off and just kind of relax and put our feet up. Our feet are sore,” Holland laughed.

Team Canada returned to action this morning versus Kerry Galusha and the Northwest Territories/Yukon and will face fellow Saskatchewanian Michelle Englot in the final round-robin draw tonight at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be fun,” said Regina resident Holland, in reference to her meeting with Englot, whose foursome also hails from the Queen City.

“We haven’t played Michelle yet this year. This will be the first time and what a great time to step out on the ice against her at the Scotties.

“I said coming here that it would be weird with two Saskatchewan teams, but I think it’s going to be fun. There are so many fans here for both teams and there’s going to be a lot of energy (in the building). But at the end of the day the fans will still go into the HeartStop (lounge) and have a drink, so it’s all good.”

Holland defeated Jennifer Jones and Team Manitoba earlier in the week, but Jones had won three in a row heading into her Wednesday evening match with Northwest Territories/Yukon and was in first place with a 6-2 record.

“I think I said after we played them in the round robin that there’s a good chance we’d be playing her again, and probably in this event,” said Holland. “So we know that they have a strong team and that they’re going to be a factor at the end.”

Team Canada played without Tammy Schneider for most of both games Wednesday. The veteran second, who suffered a minor knee injury Monday and missed the better part of two games with that ailment, left the morning draw with the flu and didn’t return.

“I hope she’s in bed getting lots of sleep and that she’s feeling better tomorrow,” said Holland, who used fifth Jolene Campbell in place of Schneider.

Meanwhile, Scott’s B.C. crew was minus the services of third Sasha Carter, who missed her second and third games of the week due to a bout of the flu.

She was replaced by fifth Sherry Fraser, who shot 75 per cent in an 11-end, 8-6 loss to Manitoba in the morning and 82 per cent in an 11-6 win over the Northwest Territories/Yukon in the afternoon.

The B.C. squad shot 79 per cent as a team versus Jones — despite giving up a steal of two in the extra end — and 88 per cent against Galusha.

“It was a great day,” said Scott. “We had a great game this morning and this last game we were behind for a few ends, but the girls played great and set up so many ends so well that it was a good game for us.

“I felt that today was the first day that we played really solid games, not sloppy games. I was very pleased with how we played today.”

Scott said her team hasn’t made a habit of watching the scoreboard or taking notice of the standings.

“For us it’s just about going out and trying to get a win every game,” she said. “The week is actually flying by because every day has a new turn of events and a new lineup.”

Scott couldn’t predict when and if Carter would return to the team, but insisted she’d be welcomed back.

“It’s Sasha’s call. Sasha has earned the opportunity to play,” said Scott.

“She’s a fantastic player and if she feels that she’s able to play we would love to have her. If she says she’s ready to play by no means will we deny her that opportunity. We just really have to assess how she’s doing and she has to tell us how she’s doing.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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