Newfoundland and Labrador’s winning streak ended Tuesday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but the Stacie Curtis rink from St. John’s remained very much in contention to advance to the next round at the Canadian women’s curling championship in Penticton, B.C.
In Tuesday’s morning draw, Curtis and rinkmates Erin Porter, Julie Devereaux and Erica Trickett lost 8-5 to Michelle Englot and Team Canada, leaving them and Alberta's Casey Scheidegger all tied for first place in Pool B with 4-1 records.
Those three teams played again Tuesday night — when fifth wins would guarantee them advancement to the championship pool and the second phase of the Scotties.
The three-point differential in Team Canada’s win over N.L. could be found in steals — Englot stole two points in the second end and another in the fifth. What’s more, Curtis had her toughest game statistically so far in the tourney, coming in at 64 per cent after having posted numbers of 92 and 91 percent in her previous two games.
Nevertheless, the Newfoundland skip appeared unshaken by her team’s first loss in Penticton and its first after seven straight Scotties wins, a streak that stretched back to the 2017 Canadian championship in St. Catharine’s. Ont.
“I’m pretty confident we’re going to bounce back,” said Curtis. “If you’d told me (entering the championship) we’d be 4-1, I’d take it. Every day of the week, I’d take it.
“It would’ve meant we’d gotten off to a good start and put ourselves in a position where we can control getting to the championship round, which is our first goal.”
In Tuesday's late game (11:30 p.m. NT start) Newfoundland takes on Quebec.
Even if the Newfoundlanders don'ty win that matchup, they'll another chance at a fifth win Wednesday afternoon when they face host British Columbia in their final preliminary-round game. And so strong was their start Penticton, that there is a distinct possibility Curtis and Co.’s first four wins will be enough to provide a berth in the championship pool.
There are 16 entries at the event, divided into two eight-team pools. The top four finishers in each pool move on to the championship pool, where each team will play crossover games against the top four finishers from the opposite pool.
From there, four teams will advance to the Page playoffs to determine medallists.
No matter how early a team clinches a berth in the next round, it’s still important to keep on winning. That’s because teams’ preliminary-round records are carried over to the championship pool.
Curtius says that should help her team maintain its focus.
“We want to get a couple more wins out of our pool and really finish strong and head into the second half of this week,” she said.
With files from Curling Canada