PENTICTON, B.C. - A wild ride for Wild Card entry Kerri Einarson continues at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Einarson's team from East St. Paul, Man., has earned top spot in the playoff round of the Canadian women's curling championship with a 9-2 record after defeating Alberta's Casey Scheidegger 6-4 at the South Okanagan Events Centre Friday evening.
That sets Team Wild Card up for a meeting against Manitoba's Jennifer Jones in the Page 1-2 playoff on Saturday. Team Northern Ontario's Tracy Fleury (8-3) will play Nova Scotia's Mary-Anne Arsenault (9-2) in the Page 3-4 playoff.
"It's awesome, I'm ecstatic … I've got goose bumps all over," said Einarson.
Trailing 5-4, Scheidegger had a chance with last rock to even the game, but after bumping the Wild Card stones, her rock slid too far for a steal of one.
"I knew she was heavy out of her hand and I was like 'Oh, please don't curl' and I was just sitting there watching the line and she was just that bit heavy," Einarson relayed.
The Wild Card skip said that match was good preparation for what they will see moving forward.
"We had a couple of misses, we can't afford that against (Jennifer) Jones tomorrow," said Einarson. "We definitely have to be a lot more sharper."
Team Manitoba (9-2) secured second place with a 10-4 win over Team Canada's Michelle Englot (6-5) in eight ends.
"We're pretty happy with where we're at and we've played really well the last couple of days so it's a nice feeling heading into the playoffs," said Jones, who is chasing her sixth Scotties title, which would tie her with Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones for the most ever.
Manitoba stole three in the second end to take a 4-0 lead. They also scored a deuce in the fourth end and three in the seventh. Jones said she doesn't believe the score was a true reflection of the game.
"The steal of three early kind of swayed the game in our favour and we have been hitting really well this week," she said. "I can't remember the last time (second) Jill (Officer) has thrown so many corner guard peels. She is making them all. We were in a pretty good spot and making some big shots when we have to."
Fleury secured the fourth and final spot for the Page Playoffs with a 7-5 win over Team B.C.'s Kesa Van Osch (4-7). Northern Ontario scored deuces in the second, fifth and seventh ends.
"It feels awesome. It's our first time making the playoffs at the Scotties so we're pretty excited about it and especially after starting with two losses, it was a lot of hard work after that," Fleury laughed.
The Sudbury, Ont., native is in her third Scotties and said the team felt it was possible to reach this point of the women's championship. Playing many of the teams before they know they measure up well.
"Playoffs was definitely the goal coming in," said Fleury.
Arsenault's team defeated Ontario's Hollie Duncan (4-7) 9-8 in extra ends. Arsenault is also in pursuit of her sixth Scotties title.