April 25th, 2024

Manitoba’s Kaitlyn Lawes squeaks into Tournament of Hearts playoffs

By The Canadian Press on February 22, 2024.

Team Manitoba-Cameron skip Kate Cameron directs her teammates as they play Team Manitoba-Jones at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Cameron scored one in the 10th end for a crucial 5-4 win over Nova Scotia's Heather Smith in Thursday's opening draw at the Canadian women's curling championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – Manitoba’s Kaitlyn Lawes claimed a Canadian women’s curling championship playoff berth with a 6-5 win Thursday over Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville.

Lawes joins Ontario’s Rachel Homan, Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones, Alberta’s Selena Sturmay and defending champion Kerri Einarson in Friday’s round of six at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The last available playoff spot came down to B.C.’s Clancy Grandy (5-2) versus Manitoba’s Kate Cameron (4-3) in Thursday evening’s draw.

The top three teams in each pool of nine advanced to Friday’s playoff round, from which Saturday’s four Page playoff teams will be determined.

Lawes was among five teams tied for third in Pool A with 4-4 records. Tiebreaker games were eliminated from the format this year.

Head-to-head results the first metric to solve ties didn’t produce a front-runner, so it came down to the lowest cumulative score in the last-stone draws that precede each game.

Sturmay secured first place in Pool A with an 8-5 win over B.C.’s Corryn Brown in the afternoon draw.

The host province and Einarson were tied with 7-1 records. Sturmay earned the higher seed because of a win over Einarson in pool play. Einarson defeated Newfoundland and Labrador 12-4.

Three-time Hearts winner Homan (7-0) clinched Pool B’s top seed with a 9-3 win over New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams in the morning draw. Six-time champ Jones (6-1) ranked second after a 7-3 win over Ontario’s Danielle Inglis.

Cameron kept her playoff hopes alive with a 5-4 win over Nova Scotia’s Heather Smith ahead of the evening clash with Clancy.

Curling Canada has changed the men’s and women’s national championship playoff format for the third time in four years.

The top team in each pool crosses over to face the opposite pool’s No. 2, so Homan meets Einarson and Sturmay faces Jones on Friday afternoon. The winners advance to Saturday’s Page playoff one-two game.

The losers meet the third-place teams Friday evening with those winners moving onto Saturday’s Page three-four game and the losers eliminated.

The winner of the Page one-two banks an express ticket to Sunday’s final. The loser must win Sunday’s semifinal against the winner of the Page three-four game to earn a rematch for the title.

The winner of Sunday’s final represents Canada at the world championship March 16-24 in Sydney, N.S., and earns a return trip to the 2025 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont., as defending champion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2024.

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