Kerri Einarson falls short in Scotties wild card game

Skip Kerri Einarson, from the Gimli Curling Club, watches a rock they play Casey Scheidegger's rink from the Lethbridge Curling Club, during the wild-card game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S. on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Casey Scheidegger scored a single point in the 10th end for a 7-6 win over Kerri Einarson in the wild-card game Friday night at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Scheidegger drew the four-foot ring with her final throw for the victory.

Einarson struggled mightily with her draw weight throughout the game and it proved costly.

Scheidegger will be known as Team Wild Card for the rest of the competition while Einarson is going home.

Einarson, who made it to the final of last year’s national championship after winning the play-in game, threw at a 56-per cent clip.

READ MORE: Strong start for Manitoba’s new curling dream team

She was forced to a single in the opening end as both teams tried to get a read on the ice at Centre 200.

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In the second, Einarson rubbed a guard to set up Scheidegger with a draw for two. However, the Lethbridge, Alta., skip was light with her throw and settled for a single.

Einarson was heavy with her draw for two in the third end and took the one point for a 2-1 lead. She stole a single in the fourth but Scheidegger pulled even with a hit and stick for two in the fifth end.

Draw weight was an issue for Einarson again in the sixth as her light throw gave Scheidegger a steal of one and a 4-3 lead.

In the seventh, Scheidegger stole a pair when Einarson was heavy with her final stone.

Scheidegger came through with a freeze in the eighth end to prevent Einarson from throwing for five. Instead she had a draw for three and settled for two on a measure.

Einarson made a brilliant freeze in the ninth and Scheidegger went for an aggressive in-off that didn’t work out. The steal pulled Einarson even at 6-6.

READ MORE: Kerri Einarson named top seed for Manitoba Scotties

This is the second year that the wild-card game has been used. The matchup features the two highest-ranked teams that did not qualify out of the provincial or territorial championships.

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Einarson, from Gimli, Man., holds the second spot in the national rankings, four positions higher than Scheidegger.

Einarson’s new lineup of third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur won their first four competitions of the season. They trail only Ontario’s Rachel Homan in the national rankings.

Scheidegger, third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Haughian and lead Kristie Moore opened the season with a title but have barely managed to stay above the .500 mark since.

Preliminary-round play begins Saturday. The top four teams from each division will advance to a championship pool starting Thursday.

The top four teams from that pool will advance to the playoffs starting Feb. 23. The semifinal and final will be played Feb. 24.

If Einarson had won, there would have been three Manitoba teams in the field. Jennifer Jones is skipping Team Canada and Tracy Fleury is wearing the provincial colours.

Instead, there will be two teams from Alberta as Scheidegger joins provincial champion Chelsea Carey.

The Scotties winner will represent Canada at the March 16-24 world championship in Silkeborg, Denmark, and earn a berth in the 2020 national championship in Moose Jaw, Sask.

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