Yukon rink ousted in Scotties qualifier

For the second year in a row, no Canadian territory is represented in the main draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

For the second year in a row, no Canadian territory is represented in the main draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

All three territories were sent packing in the pre-qualifying tournament of the Canadian women’s curling championship last weekend in Grande Prairie, Alta.

Yukon’s Team Baldwin went 1-2 in three games with losses to N.W.T. and B.C.

“It was great to experience it with my team that I went with,” said Nicole Baldwin, who was at her first Scotties as skip. “It was quite enjoyable.

“The team played well – we all played well – we just didn’t capitalize on a couple misses from the opponents. That was the turning point.”

Team Yukon, which included third Steph Jackson-Baier, second Ladene Shaw, lead Rhonda Horte and alternate Sandra Mikkelsen, opened with a 10-7 loss to N.W.T.‘s Kerry Galusha on Feb. 18.

Galusha, who brought Baldwin as an alternate at the 2007 Scotties, scored one in the ninth and two in the 10th for the win.

“In 10 I had last rock and was doing a run back and just missed it by a couple centimetres to get it, to get our two points and take the ‘W,’” said Baldwin. “It was that close.”

The Yukon rink was then eliminated with an 8-4 loss to Team B.C. last Friday. The Yukoners made up ground with one in the eighth and one in the ninth but couldn’t close the gap.

“That game we struggled with our weights a tiny bit,” said Baldwin. “We just couldn’t capitalize on anything that we started. We were just on the other side of the inch.”

Team B.C., led by skip Karla Thompson, went on to clinch the berth into the main draw with an 8-6 win over N.W.T., winning it in the 11th end.

The Thompson rink didn’t make it through unscathed, however. The Kamloops team lost 8-7 in 10 ends to Team Nunavut in the first draw.

It was the first-ever win for Nunavut, which was making its first appearance at the Scotties.

Team Baldwin finished the pre-qualifier with a 12-1 victory over Geneva Chislett’s Nunavut rink.

“I’m really proud of my team and how we pushed through,” said Baldwin. “It’s a bit disappointing not to be playing in the main draw, but I’m really proud of what we did.”

The days of pre-qualifying rounds at the Scotties – and the Tim Hortons Brier – are numbered. Beginning in 2018, every province and territory will have direct entry into the main draw of both national championships.

Yukon will be represented by a team led by skip Robert Smallwood at the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa, Ont., next month. The Smallwood rink will face Nova Scotia, N.W.T. and Nunavut in the pre-qualifying round beginning on March 3.

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