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Sports Carey takes top seed as playoff picture becomes clear at Scotties

There will be a new champion at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts as the playoff picture finally became clear Friday night with the completion of the championship round.

Chelsea Carey leads the four-team pack that advanced to Saturday’s Page Playoffs. She’ll have hammer in the 1-2 game against Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle, who took the second seed after a 6-3 win over Ontario’s Rachel Homan.

Homan will have hammer in the 3-4 game against Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville, who edged Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt 7-6.

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Alberta skip Chelsea Carey delivers a rock as they play Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S,. on Feb. 20, 2019.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Carey, who bounced back nicely after a two-loss day Thursday, finished at 9-2.

“We’ve felt all week like we’ve had it dialled in,” she said. “Today was back to normal and that’s all you can ask for.”

The other playoff teams were 8-3. Silvernagle took the second seed with the best head-to-head record among the three rinks.

“A lot of hard work and dedication, no sleep, and blood, sweat and tears went into it,” Silvernagle said. “We’ve put in a ton of work this year. So there was no reason why we couldn’t believe that we could be in the 1-2 game.”

Team Wild Card’s Casey Scheidegger (7-4) had a chance to force a tiebreaker, but she dropped a 9-8 decision to Carey in an extra end.

Also missing the cut was Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones (6-5), who did not reach the playoffs for the first time in 14 trips to the national championship.

Jones stunningly came up short on a draw to the 12-foot ring that would have forced an extra end in her 8-6 afternoon loss to McCarville. The Winnipeg skip said the rock felt good out of her hand, but she knew it was going to find the slide path.

“It’s about an eight- to 10-foot difference than the middle,” Jones said. “So if you get to the slide path, it does what it did. If I was out wider, that’s probably T-line.”

The crowd gasped when the stone stopped about a foot short of the rings, despite a furious sweeping effort from Jones’s teammates.

“I’ve had some worse losses than this for sure,” Jones said. “We’ve played in I don’t know how many Scotties and had a good run, had some fun, made some big shots and at the end of the day, it wasn’t our week.

“But I’m OK with it. Losing a final is way worse.”

Jones – a six-time champion – later defeated British Columbia’s Sarah Wark 5-4 in a game without playoff ramifications.

The victory gave Jones the all-time record of 141 career Scotties wins as a skip, one more than Colleen Jones.

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“Obviously a hugely disappointing week,” Jones said, her voice cracking at times. “But it feels pretty good to have that record with all these amazing players out there.”

Earlier in the day, Team Wild Card defeated British Columbia 11-6 and Alberta dumped Saskatchewan 10-3. Ontario needed an extra end to get by Prince Edward Island 7-6 as Homan hit a draw to the four-foot ring to win.

A five-way tie at 8-3 was a possibility entering the night draw, but Alberta and Ontario knew they would advance regardless due to head-to-head records.

The winner of the Page 1-2 game will advance directly to the final Sunday evening. The 3-4 game winner will play the 1-2 loser in the semifinal Sunday afternoon.

P.E.I. finished at 6-5 and B.C. was 5-6. The eight other teams in the 16-team competition did not make it out of the preliminary round.

The Scotties winner will represent Canada at the March 16-24 world women’s curling championship in Silkeborg, Denmark.

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