It was one game too many for Saskatchewan Thursday.
Having left the arena well after 10 p.m. on Wednesday evening they had but a few hours of sleep. Lead Kara Thevenot said they were up at 6 a.m. to be at the rink for 7 a.m., an hour before game time.
Versus New Brunswick
In their opening game they had a tough game against New Brunswick that went down to the final shot by Andrea Crawford. When she was narrow and wrecked on a guard Saskatchewan had won the tie breaker 9-7.
A short time later they were on the ice against Prince Edward Island.
It was a roller coaster of a game.
Robyn Silvernagle needed to draw the button in the third end to prevent a steal. In the fourth Suzanne Birt was tight on an open takeout for 2 and scored 1.
In the fifth, a big end for Saskatchewan was set up by consecutive rubs on guards by PEI. When Birt rolled out after a takeout with her last rock Silvernagle had an easy draw for four to go ahead 5-2.
Saskatchewan could have put the game away in the sixth but Silvernagle was a touch heavy and rubbed setting Birt up for a triple to score two. The team appeared to have trouble deciding what to do on sweeping the rock and ended up in the worst place possible.
Matters got worse in the eight when Silvernagle’s first shot was short and over curled and her second shot was light. PEI had a tap for four but were only able to get three.
Skips are chosen for making the last shot in tough situations. Few are tougher than the ninth, when Silvernagle as she threw her last rock, needed to reach the button, and was facing five PEI counters. It looked heavy most of the way down the ice. It slowed as it reached the house and curled onto the button. Saskatchewan’s front end never put a brush to the ice on the shot. Second Jessie Hunkin said it was perfect. She said it was tempting to sweep the shot as you want to be involved. She said they had to be patient and were rewarded.
Hunkin said sweeping had been tough during the game as rocks were moving a bit more than they expected.
In the 10th end, needing to steal, Saskatchewan got the break they needed when PEI stuck rather than peeled a short guard. A nice draw by Stephanie Lawton to the back of the four foot left PEI on the defensive.
On her last rock Silvernagle had a choice of where to put her guard for the shot rock. Higher would push Birt to draw. Closer would force a double takeout. Hunkin said Saskatchewan, knowing Birt is a good drawer, wanted to make her attempt the hit. Silvernagle put her rock exactly where she had set the broom in the edge of the 12 foot.
Birt threw a heavier takeout than usual. Hunkin, standing on the side, said she could not tell whether the PEI rock was on line. Birt hit the guard hard and jammed it dead on the shot rock. Hunkin said the curling gods were with them on that shot.
It is quite a day when consecutive opposing skips miss last shots to win games.
Playing PEI is tiring. They play virtually every end with lots of rocks in play.
Saskatchewan won 8-7.
Versus Wild Card
Saskatchewan was so focused on the PEI game that Lawton did not know they were playing wild card Jennifer Jones in the evening.
Saskatchewan was in the game against Jones for six ends even gaining some momentum when Silvernagle made another no sweep draw to the edge of the four foot to score two. The draw was only one to two inches deeper than than the wild card rock that was second shot. Thevenot said they were confident in the shot being there but it caught a bit of a curl late and barely made it.
In the seventh end Saskatchewan missed fully or partly their last six shots. Each team was trying to make out turn draws to the four foot and kept being inside or outside or deep. Thevenot said it was sensitive out there on getting the curl and weight. She wondered if Silvernagle’s first shot caught something as it jumped hard. It had looked to be curling in perfectly.
In the eight, now down three, Thevenot summed up the end as not great rock placement by the team. Lawton made a great draw but Silvernagle was so light on an attempted draw she barely made it halfway between the hog line and the house. After wild card stole two, Saskatchewan conceded, the final score being 8-3
Thevenot, unlike her skip, said was not going to be analyzing the game into the night. She said once she leaves the rink she does not dwell on the last game. After the short night and long day she was looking forward to a good sleep.
Bill Selnes, who’s based in Melfort, has written about sports since the late 1970s.