Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories defeated Manitoba’s Mackenzie Zacharias 8-6 in a tiebreaker game Friday morning at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s curling championship.
Galusha’s rink scored three in both the second and eighth ends to take a commanding 8-3 advantage.
Zacharias made it interesting with three in the ninth to pull to within 8-6. However, that’s as close as the Manitoba rink would get.
The last playoff appearance for a team representing NWT at the Canadian women’s curling championship was Skelly Bildfell’s rink from Whitehorse in 1983.
At that time, the Yukon and NWT were represented by one rink.
Einarson & Fleury win pool, but Zacharias into tiebreaker at Scotties
Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville took a 5-1 lead then held on for an 11-8 win over Nova Scotia’s Christina Black in one of Friday afternoon’s playoff games.
In the other Page-qualifying game at the Canadian women’s curling championship, Andrea Crawford of New Brunswick defeated Kerry Galusha of the NWT 8-6.
McCarville looked to have her game under control when she scored four points in the third end then stole four more in the fourth.
Black battled back with four points of her own in the fifth, then steals of one in the sixth, seventh and eighth ends to cut her deficit to 9-8.
McCarville stopped the bleeding with a draw for two in the ninth end and said her team never lost focus and remained mentally strong.
“When you’re giving up steal after steal it can get to you a little bit,” she said. “After every single end we’d get together and stay really positive.
“Even though there were some missed shots you have to stay positive because it’s a long game and anything can happen. We were still in control. We just focused on making those shots and not really looking at what happened the end before. ”
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Crawford trailed 5-3 after five ends. She scored two in the sixth then stole a pair in the seventh. She used a hit and roll on her last shot to score a point in the final end.
“We just hung in there,” said Crawford, playing in her first playoff after 10 Scotties appearances. “We were playing well, we just were not catching the breaks at the right time.
“We played really hard and I’m really proud of that performance. If we can keep going with that, I think we’ll do well. ”
Einarson rink remains unbeaten, Fleury rink clinches playoff spot at Scotties
McCarville, the hometown favorite from Thunder Bay, will play Tracy Fleury’s Wild Card 1 rink from Manitoba on Friday night in the Page playoff seeding game. Fleury’s rink finished first in Pool A with a 7-1 record.
Crawford faces Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada squad in the other Page seeding game. The two-team defending Scotties champions led Pool B with a perfect 8-0 record.
Crawford finished the round robin second in Pool A with a 6-2 record. The last rink from New Brunswick to reach the Scotties playoffs was Heidi Hanlon, who lost the ’91 final to BC’s Julie Sutton.
McCarville, who was third in Pool A with a 5-3 record, lost in the final of the 2016 Scotties to Chelsea Carey’s rink from Alberta.
Black finished second in Pool B with a 5-3 record.
Fleury played her first game Thursday after being forced to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test prior to the tournament.
Third Selena Njegovan took over the skipping duties for the team that leads both the Canadian and world rankings.
Due to COVID-19 concerns the round-robin portion of the tournament was held in an empty Fort Williams Gardens without fans or media in the building. A limited number of volunteers registered for the competition and junior curlers from the area are allowed to attend the playoffs.
Each of McCarville’s shots drew loud cheers from the crowd of around 200 fans in the building Friday.
“That was awesome,” McCarville said. “It’s pretty uplifting when you make a good shot and you have a lot of cheers, especially when you hear people you know yelling your name.”
The tournament was divided into two nine-team pools with the top three rinks from each pool advancing to an expanded Page playoff field.
The winners of Friday night’s games move to the Page 1-2 game, while the losers will compete in the Page 3-4 contest. The winner of the Page 1-2 game Saturday advances directly to the final. The loser plays the winner of the Page 3-4 game in the semifinal.
The winner of Sunday’s semifinal advances to the final slated for later that evening.
The Scotties champion will represent Canada at the 2022 world women’s curling championship in Prince George, BC, from March
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