PENTICTON, B.C. — Alberta's Casey Scheidegger cruised to a 9-2 win over Quebec's Emilia Gagne at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Scheidegger jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three ends then shut the door with a deuce in the eighth end on Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre. She finished 6-1 atop Pool B in round-robin play. Quebec finished 3-4, placing sixth.
"They are a great little young team so we wanted to come out and play really well," said Scheidegger, a teacher at Palliser Regional Schools in Lethbridge. "We knew that this game meant a lot to them as well for standings. We just stayed tough out there and managed to pull out a win."
Gagne, a natural sciences student at College d'Alma, said it wasn't their best game, but they were happy to play.
"Happy to be on the ice at the Scotties. It was great even though we lost," she said. "It was a good challenge because we knew that they were very good. That it was going to be a good game, a tough game for us."
Quebec made shots, but struggled with trying to make the perfect shot.
Following a blank opening end, Alberta hit the scoresheet with a deuce, then stole three in the third when Gagne didn't have enough weight on her rock for a raise. Scheidegger said when a team gets a lead, it can be hard to stay mentally focused.
"Everybody was mentally tough and we still made a lot of shots even when we got that little bit of a lead. We're excited for the next round," she said. "We really wanted to make sure we had a good win-loss record heading into the championship pool. Just having that one loss is huge for us."
Team Canada's Michelle Englot led Pool B at 5-1. They dropped to 5-2 following a 7-5 loss to Ontario's Hollie Duncan (4-3) putting them in second place. Englot is replacing 2017 champion Rachel Homan at the tournament. Homan will represent Canada at the Winter Olympics.
Ontario will face Newfoundland and Labrador's Stacie Curtis in a tiebreaker on Thursday morning.
B.C.'s Kesa Van Osch (4-3) secured third place in Pool B with a 10-7 win over Curtis (4-3).
"It's awesome. That was our goal coming in," said Van Osch of Nanaimo. "Especially with the new format, we really wanted to make it to that second round. We thought that would be a very achievable goal coming in. Now we will reset and make a new goal going forward."
B.C. got a boost from the hometown crowd as the draw attracted 1,871 spectators.
"They were really loud today, especially near the end of the game. They got really into it," said Van Osch, a carpenter. "It's awesome, we really like it."
In other afternoon action, Prince Edward Island's Robyn MacPhee (2-6) defeated Nunavut's Amie Shackleton (0-7) 9-2 in eight ends. P.E.I. scored four in the seventh end, while Nunavut finished with a deuce in the eighth.
The top four teams from each pool advance to the championship round. A Page playoff this weekend will then determine the winner.
In evening action, Kerri Einarson led Team Wild Card to a 9-4 victory over Manitoba's Jennifer Jones to take sole possession of first in Pool A.
Einarson enters the playoff round with a 6-1 record, while Jones falls to 5-2, into a three-way tie for second.
Nova Scotia's Mary-Anne Arsenault beat Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson 8-3 to nab one of the other playoff spots.
Northern Ontario's Tracy Fleury edged Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories 7-6 to secure the other playoff berth.
New Brunswick's Sylvie Robichaud topped Chelsea Duncan from the Yukon 6-3 in the evening draw's other match.
Emanuel Sequeira, The Canadian Press
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