Curling: Einarson makes Tournament of Hearts playoffs

Kamloops, BC –

Speeding into the playoffs at the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship is Kelly Einarson’s specialty.

A six-game winning streak at the Scotties’ Tournament of Hearts on Tuesday put the three-time defending champions into the championship round well before the end of Thursday’s pool play.

“When you play loose and relaxed, everything seems to fit together,” Einarson said after the 10-3 win over Saskatchewan.

Their opener in Kamloops, British Columbia mirrors an earlier fast start that saw Einarson, Vice Val Sweeting, Second Shannon Burchard and Reid Brianne Harris claim the Hearts crown for the third year in a row.

The Gimli Curling Club foursome from Manitoba started 6-0 last year in Thunder Bay, Ontario. — and was undefeated in pool matches — also won his first six bouts in Calgary’s curling bubble in 2021.

They went 5-1 in their first six games at Moosejaw, Sask to clinch the first title of their third straight in 2020.

Their toughest test so far in Kamloops was a 10-9 win over Kaitlyn Lowes’ wildcard team, trailing 5-1 in the fourth end.

“I think I feel really comfortable here at Scotty and I know what kind of ice I want,” Harris said.

“And if it’s a little different, we’ll try to learn it ASAP. Don’t panic or get frustrated, just work on it until you start making more shots.”

The top three teams from each nine-team pool will advance to Friday’s championship round. His four Page playoff teams on Saturday will emerge from its six groups.

Semi-finals and finals on Sunday.

Six-time champion Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones won twice on Tuesday to lead Pool B with a 5-1 win over Northern Ontario’s Christa McCarville (4-1).

McCarville played Northwest Territories’ Kerry Garusha on the night before drawing 3-2 with Ontario’s Rachel Homan.

Jones’ former Vice Rose, who skipped Wildcard 1, was 3-1 in Pool A.

Alberta’s Kayla Skuk, Nova Scotia’s Christina Black and BC’s Clancy Grundy tied the score 3-2.

Einarson’s team posted a combined 93% accuracy in both ties and hits in their first six games.

“We have really good weight management and great sweepers. They make a lot of shots for me,” Skip said.

“Really good rock placement, yeah, making other teams harder.”

After a gameless Wednesday (they will throw stones in the afternoon), Einarsson will finish pool play against Alberta and Nunavut on Thursday.

Six teams in the championship round have pool records. The top seeds in each pool will bid farewell to the championship round finals.

“We definitely don’t want to lose and make the playoffs,” Einarsson said.

“It’s a bit disappointing to take a full day off because once you’ve got a good rhythm you don’t want to break it, but it’s nice to be able to throw at least a little while.”

In addition to meeting with sponsors on the team’s off days, Einarson says he takes his twin daughters to the hotel pool.

Pregnant with a June due date, Harris was ready for a break.

“I know I won’t move,” Reed said.

“Actually, my energy wasn’t that bad. I felt really good that way, so that’s a good thing.

“Body coordination is the main thing now.”

Canada controlled the match well against Saskatchewan, bringing in substitute Kristen Karwacki for Harris in the final two ends.

Jones, who employs a five-man rotation, beat the NWT and Yukon 10-8 and 10-5 respectively on Tuesday.

Throwing the second stone, her current deputy Mackenzie Zacharias, with Emily Zacharias and Lauren Renentin playing on the front end, scored the win against the Yukon.

“It’s always been a team decision and Emily is second in her career, so we wanted her to come into the game second,” Jones explained.

“Mackenzie, two game days, Mackenzie has never swept this much in his life.

“This day is a prearranged day to give everyone a break.”

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on February 21, 2023.

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