Scotties Notes: Alberta's Sturmay first into six-team playoffs

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It was win and they were in for Team Alberta early Wednesday.

Trouble was Northern Ontario is known for being a thorn in the side and a get-better-as-the-week-goes-on squad at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

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And Krista McCarville’s crew proved to be just that in the clash, before Selena Sturmay’s Edmonton rink rallied for a 10-9 extra-end triumph to become the first 6-0 team at Calgary’s WinSport and first crew to qualify for the six-team playoff round.

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“Oh, my gosh … that sounds amazing,” said skip Sturmay, whose Saville Community Sports Centre team learned of the achievement post-game. “We didn’t really go into that thinking it was a playoff game, but happy we can grind that one out.”

It was a grind, for sure.

Down 6-3 at the fifth-end break and 7-3 through six, Alberta stormed back with two in the seventh, one in the eighth, three in the ninth and the winning point in the 11th end.

“We ended up swapping around a couple of rocks,” said Sturmay, of what changed mid-game for Alberta. “Unfortunately, one of my rocks early on was a little bit curly, and I had a little bit of a straighter one. So just figuring out how to manage those on pressure shots and draws … was a difference.”

The comeback for Alberta came on the same sheet where Kerry Galusha’s Northwest Territories’ rink rallied from a 7-0 deficit to defeat Ontario’s Danielle Inglis 10-9 the day before.

“I think it’s honestly just the rocks (on that sheet),” added Sturmay. “I think the yellow set to the red set are not quite the same. There’s just a lot of straight rocks and curly rocks. It’s just tough to get a read when every rock is something different.”

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HOMAN, JONES IN, TOO

Both Ontario’s Rachel Homan and Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones locked up playoff spots Wednesday afternoon.

They put together respective 10-3 and 10-5 wins over B.C.’s Clancy Grandy and Manitoba’s Kate Cameron to earn those achievements.

“Coming off a loss (Tuesday) night, we really wanted to come out and win,” said Jones, whose squad lost 7-5 to Homan late Tuesday. “It’s just a big win for us. You never want to have back-to-back losses.”

Her game with Cameron was all but over early, thanks in part to a long raised double-takeout Jones executed in the second end that put her up 3-0. The veteran skip and winner of six Scotties titles counted another three in the seventh end and had earlier deuces in four and five.

“It’s such a tough field,” Jones said. “Obviously, we want to play well (Thursday) … and head into the playoffs playing well.”

Six teams went in to Wednesday evening’s action already eliminated from the playoff picture.

Two were from Pool A — Newfoundland and Labrador’s Stacie Curtis (1-5) and Prince Edward Island’s Jane DiCarlo (0-7) — and four were from Pool B — Ontario’s Danielle Inglis (3-4), New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams (2-4), NWT’s Kerry Galusha (1-5) and Yukon’s Bayly Scoffin (0-6).

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As it stands, if Saskatchewan’s Skylar Ackerman (4-3) beats B.C.’s Corryn Brown (3-3) in Wednesday’s late draw, then teams with four losses won’t make the playoffs in Pool A competition.

Four losses for any team in Pool B is already a killer, eliminating that team from contention.

TIEBREAKER TIME?

With an 18-team field at these Scotties, there’s no time for tiebreaker games.

After Thursday’s round-robin wrap-up, the event slides right into playoff mode Friday at noon MT.

So if a tiebreak is needed to determine the six playoff teams — three from each pool — it’ll come down to this formula:

• Teams are first ranked by their respective win/loss records.

• If two teams are tied in win/losses, the team that won the round-robin game between them will be ranked higher.

• If more than two teams are tied, the win/loss records in games between those teams only will determine ranking.

• When the previous steps cannot determine ranking, then it will be determined by using the total distance of the accumulated draw-shot distance for those tied teams.

• If teams remain tied using the accumulated distance of the last stone draw, the next largest distance of the tied teams will be dropped until the tie is broken.

The last-shot draw rankings match the same formula used at world championship events and the Winter Olympic Games.

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