Newfoundland and Labrador had its playoff hopes just about completely stolen away Tuesday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s curling championship in Sydney, N.S.
Kelli Sharpe and her St. John’s rink lost 8-4 to Saskatchewan in their only game Tuesday, leaving Newfoundland, which has two preliminary-round contests remaining, with a 1-4 record.
While that doesn’t quite mathematically eliminate Sharpe and teammates Stephanie Guzzwell, Beth Hamilton, Michelle Jewer and Carrie Vautour from advancement to the championship pool, they’ll need a whole lot to go their way today in order to become part of some sort of tiebreaker scenario.
On Tuesday, Sharpe and Co. held last-rock advantage to open against Robyn Silvernagle and Saskatchewan, but after the first two ends were blanked, the prairie team stole four points in the third end and another in the fourth to take a lead that couldn’t be surmounted.
In all, Newfoundland has been outscored 15-5 when it comes to steals this week in Sydney, accounting for most of its overall 14-points differential at the Scotties (the Sharpe rink has been outscored 42-28 through five games).
That’s helped put the Newfoundlanders in this precarious position.
Just four of the eight teams from their pool will advance to the championship round and Suzanne Birt’s Prince Edward Island entry and Casey Scheidegger’s Wild Card team from Alberta are both already at 4-1. Jennifer Jones and Team Canada, Saskatchewan and Kelly Galusha’s Northwest Territories rink are all at 3-2 and if any pair of those teams win at least one of their two games today, Newfoundland will be eliminated from medal contention.
And even if they get the breaks they need from games on other sheets today, it won’t matter unless the Sharpe rink wins its remaining contests, against Jones and the defending champions this morning and Andrea Crawford and New Brunswick (2-3) tonight.
The New Brunswickers are coming off a wild 13-12 extra-end loss to P.E.I., where the 25 total points set a Scotties record for a single game.