By Emanuel Sequeira, The Canadian Press
PENTICTON, B.C. — Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones went for a Hail Mary at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Wednesday, but her rock slid just a little too far.
Jones dropped a 9-5 decision to Northern Ontario’s Tracy Fleury for her first loss of the round-robin at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The five-time Scotties champ gave up a steal of three after missing a triple-raise attempt in the 10th end.
“I felt like we kind of let that one slip away a little bit,” Jones said. “We will have to rebound and play a little sharper tonight.”
Fleury (4-2), a native of Sudbury, Ont., said it was the type of game her team wanted to play.
“It was a really tight game,” she said. “We were a little nervous on that last shot of hers. We couldn’t really tell if the angles were there for two. It was a little scary.”
Manitoba (5-1) opened by scoring a deuce and led 4-1 after three ends. Northern Ontario took a 6-5 lead in the eighth when Fleury left her last rock near the button for a pair.
“They are such a great team and they are having a really good week here,” said Fleury, whose team has won four straight. “It’s definitely a confidence boost for us. Because we lost our first two games, we feel like our back has been against the wall.”
Manitoba third Shannon Birchard — filling in for Kaitlyn Lawes who is preparing for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang — said it was a tough game.
“We struggled reading the ice a little bit earlier,” Birchard said. “It was a little straighter today. We were just on the wrong side of that for the first half of the game and missed out on a couple rolls or overthrew a couple hits.”
In the day’s second draw, Casey Scheidegger’s Alberta rink topped Quebec’s Emilia Gagne 9-2.
Alberta’s win, coupled with Canada’s Michelle Englot’s 7-5 loss to Ontario’s Hollie Duncan (4-3), put Scheidegger in sole possession of first in Pool B. Englot is replacing 2017 champion Rachel Homan at the tournament. Homan will represent Canada at the Winter Olympics.
British Columbia’s Kesa Van Osch (4-3) downed Newfoundland and Labrador’s Stacie Curtis (4-3) by a score of 10-7.
Robyn MacPhee of P.E.I. (2-5) rolled past Nunavut’s Amie Shackleton 12-4, who dropped to 0-7.
After 13 draws, Jones sits atop Pool A with Team Wild Card’s Kerri Einarson (5-1). Einarson posted a 9-3 win over Kerry Galusha (1-5) of the Northwest Territories.
Jones was scheduled to play Einarson on Wednesday night.
Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault (4-2) defeated winless Yukon skip Chelsea Duncan 8-2. Arsenault took the lead with a deuce in the seventh end before pulling away.
“It was really late coming, but we did get the break that we were kind of thinking we might,” she said. “Really huge win. I think that gets us through. You really don’t want any more than two losses going into the championship pool.”
New Brunswick’s Sylvie Robichaud (3-3) edged Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson 7-6 in the other early game. Anderson fell to 2-4.
The top four teams from each pool advance to the championship round. A Page playoff this weekend will then determine the winner.