Tracy Fleury back to Scotties just in time for playoffs

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The top-ranked team got their captain back.

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And the local team gets its supporters into the stands.

For two of the three teams that qualified for the Group A playoffs – that is Team Wild Card 1 and Northern Ontario – these are big boosts in their respective quests to win the Tournament. 2022 Scotties Hearts in Thunder Bay.

“Feeling great – just happy to be back and reunited with the girls,” said Wild Card 1 captain Tracy Fleury, who made her ice debut on Thursday after being ruled out by COVID for the first six. days of the National Women’s Curling Championship. .

“I was a little worried on the approach,” admitted Fleury. “I haven’t been on the ice for two weeks, so it was all in my head. But I’ve been in that situation quite a bit all season, so it wasn’t unfamiliar territory. I think once back on the ice with the girls, it felt really natural. »

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Understandably, it was difficult for her to be separated from her Manitoba teammates during her quarantine with the Scotties.

However, the victory – with Selena Njegovan coming in to jump and Robyn Njegovan replacing on third – softened the blow.

“It’s tough,” Fleury said. “Obviously I wanted to play with them. I liked to cheer. It’s hard to be a spectator, but it was fun to cheer them on.

“And they were unreal,” the 35-year-old Sudbury product continued. “It was great that they had a few game shows, so I could watch closely and see what they were doing. So proud of them for how they stepped into different roles – they made it seem like that it was easy and they really supported each other.

“Selena, not having much jump rope experience, she made it look easy and it felt so comfortable there. And Robin, in her first Scotties all just thrown in third, she was absolutely amazing. I was in disbelief watching her – she looked so comfortable and she took so many pictures for us. So grateful that she stepped up.

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It didn’t look like Fleury missed a beat in her opener, as she bent 85% and landed the game-winning shot with relative ease – a last-rock out for two in an 8-win win. 6 over Northern Ontario.

That makes it 7-1 Wild Card 1, with the highest-seeded team entering the week the first seed in Group A, giving them a bye to the first round of the playoffs. At 6-2 after a 10-3 afternoon loss to Chelsea Carey of Team Wild Card 2, New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford is the second seed in Pool A, and because Saskatchewan’s Penny Barker ( 4-4) lost 10-2 to Team Wild Card 3. Emma Miskew on another morning, Krista McCarville and Northern Ontario 5-3 backed as the third seed in the group.

And with that, McCarville & Co. will get the in-person support of some 400 locals – junior curlers and event volunteers – to Fort William Gardens for the playoffs.

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“Now that we know there will be a lot of people in the stands, it’s super exciting,” captain McCarville said of Curling Canada’s decision to allow selected fans in the stands for Friday-Sunday matches. . “It’s going to be nice to hear those cheers for us.”

“When we imagined this event, that’s how we imagined it,” acknowledged Sarah Potts, Northern Ontario Manager. “We know people are cheering at home – we’ve had a lot of support – but to hear them in the stands it will be good.”

McCarville and her rink, which also includes third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala and alternate Jen Gates, are trying to join Vera Pezer of Saskatoon — who returned to Saskatchewan in 1972 — to become the only teams to win the Scotties , their hometown.

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“Obviously we wanted to get first place in the pool, but we feel like we got it — we’re in the playoffs,” said McCarville, 39, who is also aiming for her first Scotties crown. “It feels like we’re starting our next goal now, and we just have to keep doing it from here.

“We had a very good match against Fleury. It was a hard battle back and forth. So I’m proud of the team and I think we played very well. Getting into the playoffs feels really good.

ADDITIONAL PURPOSE

Three games in Thursday’s late draw will decide who comes out to join Canada’s Kerri Einarson (7-0) for the Group B playoffs. Nova Scotia’s Christina Black (5-2) and Manitoba’s Mackenzie Zacharias (5-2 ) both claimed victory. and-you-are in positions against Laurie St-Georges of Quebec (3-4) and Canada, respectively. A slip of one or two and a victory for Kerry Galusha (4-3) of the Northwest Territories, who faced Laura Walker of Alberta (4-4), keeps the NWT alive for a spot in the a tiebreaker Friday (9 a.m. ET, TSN3)… In the first playoff draw on Friday (1 p.m. ET, TSN), New Brunswick faces the third seed in Pool B and Northern Ontario takes on the No. 2 seed in Pool B. The winners then advance to the late draw to face Canada and Wild Card 1 (7 p.m. ET, TSN) … Thursday’s other late game to complete the round-robin saw Mary -Anne Arsenault of British Columbia (2-5) against Hailey Birnie of Yukon (0-7) … The other afternoon score was 8-5 for Suzanne Birt of Prince Island -Édouard (4-4) against Sarah Hill of Newfoundland and Labrador (2-6)… In the morning, it was: Nova Scotia 10, Yukon 4; Ontario 9, Quebec 4; Manitoba 10, Alberta 7; and BC 11, Northwest Territories 6.

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