Chelsea Carey wins first place showdown over Jennifer Jones at Olympic curling trials
OTTAWA – Brad Jacobs stood by the hack with his arms crossed. Jennifer Jones was sporting a nonplussed look at the other end of the rink.
Both reigning Olympic champions took it on the chin Wednesday at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings.
Jacobs’ playoff chances decreased after he dropped a 9-3 decision to Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher. Two sheets over, Chelsea Carey posted a 7-5 win over Jones to hand the Winnipeg skip her first loss of round-robin play.
“I’d rather it happen now than later on,” Jones said. “It’s just a matter of whether we can rebound from it. We’re made of something a little bit more than just crumbling after one loss.”
“I expect us to come out tomorrow and play well.”
Jacobs, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., admitted he was shocked to be 2-3 and in must-win mode the rest of the way.
“I would say that there was a lot of really well-thrown rocks by our team and a huge lack of results,” he said. “It’s hard to put your finger on why.”
Carey and Kevin Koe – both Calgary skips – were the only unbeaten teams after 13 draws at Canadian Tire Centre.
Carey improved to 5-0 while Koe moved to 6-0 after a comfortable 6-4 win over Toronto’s John Epping. Koe locked up a playoff spot with the victory.
“That’s when the tough games start,” said lead Ben Hebert. “We’d like to finish the round-robin strong, keep playing well and have some confidence going into the playoffs.”
Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen, who beat Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock 10-4 in the morning draw, was tied for second place at 4-2 with Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L. Gushue beat McEwen 8-3 in the evening draw.
Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers was at 3-3 following a 10-6 win over Vernon, B.C.’s John Morris (1-3) in the night draw.
Bottcher and Jacobs were at 2-3. A fourth loss would almost certainly end any hopes of weekend play.
Carey, meanwhile, moved into sole possession of first place in the women’s standings at 5-0.
“I’m not worried about end results, I’m not worried about (my) record,” she said. “You sort of think five or six wins will get you something, so step one accomplished.”
Jones, who won this event in 2013 before taking gold at the Sochi Games in Russia, fell to 5-1. She struggled with her draw weight at times and never recovered after giving up a steal of three in the fifth end.
“For the most part I crashed on a couple when I just didn’t have the line,” she said. “That will have to be better if we’re going to make the playoffs. I’ll figure it out.”
Ottawa’s Rachel Homan was tied with Jones at 5-1 after a 10-7 victory over Casey Scheidegger (2-4) of Lethbridge, Alta., in the evening draw. Homan scored four in the 10th end to rally from a 7-6 deficit.
Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., improved to fourth place at 3-2 after beating the 0-6 Allison Flaxey 8-7 in the evening draw. Val Sweeting of Edmonton, who posted an 8-6 morning win over Scheidegger, was fifth at 3-3. Sweeting has won three straight games to get into the playoff mix.
“A wise friend said, ‘You don’t have to win five games, you just have to win one game five times,”‘ Sweeting said. “I thought that was really good advice.”
Michelle Englot of Winnipeg outscored Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont., 9-6 in the other afternoon game.
Several groups of boisterous schoolchildren took in the morning draw. Announced attendance was 3,686 in the 17,000-seat venue. A crowd of 3,734 took in the afternoon action.
Round-robin play continues through Friday night and the finals are scheduled on Sunday. The winners will represent Canada at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.
It has been an emotional week for Carey, who’s here with her father, Dan, the coach of the Carruthers team. Carey’s grandfather, John Demkiw, died Saturday at age 93 and the funeral was Wednesday in Winnipeg.
“It was pretty tough to not be able to be there with my mom,” Carey said. “But he would have wanted me to be here. He would have wanted me to pour all my energy and heart and soul into that game and that’s what I did.”
Standings through draw 14 (Top 3 qualify for playoffs)
x Kevin Koe 6-0
Brad Gushue 4-2
Mike McEwen 4-2
Reid Carruthers 3-3
Brendan Bottcher 2-3
Brad Jacobs 2-3
Steve Laycock 2-4
John Morris 1-4
John Epping 1-4
Chelsea Carey 5-0
Jennifer Jones 5-1
Rachel Homan 5-1
Krista McCarville 3-2
Val Sweeting 3-3
Casey Scheidegger 2-4
Michelle Englot 1-4
Julie Tippin 1-4
Allison Flaxey 0-6
x – Clinch Playoff Spot
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