(CurlManitoba Release) Jennifer Jones has won her ninth Manitoba Women’s Championship and the defending champion team of Mackenzie Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, and Lauren Lenentine have become the first repeat winner of the Manitoba title since Jones did it with her 2012 and 2013 team.
The Zacharias team, augmented with the addition of Jennifer Jones as their skip, won the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Rocky Mountain Equipment Sunday in East St. Paul.
The team, which curls representing St. Vital and Altona and which identifies as having two leads (Emily Zacharias, and Lauren Lenentine) who alternate game to game, went undefeated through the three rounds of play in the championship. A 5W-0L in the preliminary round robin and three more wins in the championship round earned Team Jones a bye to the Sunday afternoon final.
While most anticipated a re-match of the final championship round game, in which the Jones team defeated former teammate Kaitlyn Lawes and her Fort Rouge team, the final game opponent was Team Abby Ackland, skipped by Meghan Walter, representing the host East St. Paul Curling Club.
The East St. Paul team won three games Saturday, including an evening tiebreaker win over Beth Peterson and her Assiniboine Memorial team, to advance to the Sunday morning semi-final against Lawes. In the semi-final Team Ackland, led 6-5 after eight ends. They forced Lawes to draw facing a pair and her last stone draw was about a foot heavy in the four foot circle, allowing a steal of one. Up two coming home, Team Ackland kept the pressure on, forcing Lawes to a desperation double kill attempt which jammed giving up another point in an 8-5 Ackland win.
In the final, it was the Jones team which kept continual pressure on the Ackland team. They scored three deuces through the first five ends and then stole two more on the sixth end, en route to an eight end victory.
The champion Jones team will wear the Team Manitoba colours at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kamloops in mid-February. Kerri Einarson’s Gimli team will be in Kamloops as Team Canada. Team Einarson is #1 on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) while Team Jones is CTRS #3.
CurlManitoba awaits confirmation that Kaitlyn Lawes (CTRS #4) and Team Ackland (CTRS #7) will receive wildcard Scotties berths based on other results across the country as the national Scotties field was finalized this weekend.
(Sunday, 10PM, February 6) Kerri Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Brianne Meilleur won a pair of playoff games Sunday in Thunder Bay to win the Scotties Tournament of Heart. It is the third consecutive national championship for the Einarson team from Gimli – a record held by Jennifer Jones and Vera Pezer and surpassed only by Colleen Jones and her four consecutive.
Team Canada enjoyed mid-game break leads in both games; 4-2 over Andrea Crawford (New Brunswick) in the semi-final and 6-2 over Krista McCarville (Northern Ontario) in the final.
They controlled the semi-final through the second half in an 8-4 victory. The final was different, however. The hometown team fought back to trail 7-6 playing the 8th end and forced Einarson to a single on the ninth. Trailing 8-6, McCarville missed her ‘slim chance’ runback attempt with her last rock to give Team Canada another steal and the 9-6 ‘three-peat’ win.
The entire Team Canada line-up earned first all-start team honours at the championship. Selena Njegovan, who came into the event as a third but skipped the first seven Team Fleury games, was the second all-star team skip!
(Saturday, 10PM, February 5) MCCARVILLE IN FINAL; EINARSON-CRAWFORD SEMI-FINAL: Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada eliminated Manitoba-Wild Card Tracy Fleury and Krista McCarville (Northern Ontario) advanced to the final with a win over Andrea Crawford (New Brunswick) – both with come-back wins Saturday.
In the afternoon Page 3-4 game, Einarson trailed 5-4 at the fifth end break but took control with a four on the sixth end, then stole two on the seventh to lead 10-5 in an 11-6 win over Team Fleury.
McCarville trailed Crawford 7-3 after seven ends but scored three on the eighth and two more coming home to force an extra end. The home town team stole one on the extra to advance to the Sunday 6PM (CST) final game.
Crawford drops to the semi-final against Einarson. That game goes at 11AM (CST).
(Friday, 10PM, February 4) BAD DAY FRIDAY FOR MANTIOBA’S SCOTTIES TEAMS: Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada (Gimli) and Tracy Fleury’s Manitoba Wild Card Team (East St. Paul) will meet Saturday in a Page Playoff game in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay – but not the game most would have predicted.
Both had earned playoff round byes and played Friday evening with a chance to advance to the top side of the Page Playoff draw – the game with two chances to reach the Sunday final.
Neither was able to win their game. Fleury and her team were blasted 8-3 by Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville team. Einarson fell behind 4–0 early and fought back to tie but had trouble scoring again as they trailed Andrea Crawford’s New Brunswick foursome 7-4 playing the ninth. They scored two on end nine and forced Crawford to a last rock draw coming home but saw her hit the four foot for victory.
Crawford and McCarville will meet in the Page Playoff 1-2 game while Fleury and Einarson will meet in the Page 3-4 elimination game.
Earlier in the day, Mackenzie Zacharias’ Team Manitoba (Altona) had lost their tiebreaker 8-6 to Kerry Galusha (NWT). Galusha then lost by the same score to McCarville. Crawford advanced to her game with Einarson by defeating Christa Black (NS) 11-8 in the first playoff game.
The Einarson-Fleury game is set for 1PM (CST) Saturday while the McCarville-Crawford game goes at 6PM
(Thursday, 10PM, February 3) EINARSON UNDEFEATED, ZACHARIAS IN TIEBREAKER: Mackenzie Zacharias did what they had to do to survive Thursday. They won one of their two games, and 10-7 win over Alberta, and ended with a 5W-3L record. The last game, however, was the one that got away. They scored a five on Kerri Einarson and Team Canada. However, they could not hold the lead – giving up five points over the next three ends and five more over ends 7 to 10. The final 10-7 Einarson win gave Team Canada a perfect 8W-0L record.
Zacharias finished with a 5W-3L record, tied with Christina Black (Nova Scotia) and Kerry Galusha (Northwest Territories). Nova Scotia earns second place thanks to round robin wins over both Manitoba and Northwest Territories. Zacharias and Galusha will meet in a tiebreaker on Friday morning.
EINARSON VS Manitoba: Win 10-7 EINARSON VS NWT: Win 8-5 EINARSON VS Yukon: WIN 6-4 EINARSON VS BC: WIN 10-5 EINARSON VS Alberta: WIN 10-5 EINARSON VS Quebec: WIN 8-5 EINARSON VS Nova Scotia: WIN 6-3 EINARSON VS Ontario: WIN 12-5
ZACHARIAS VS Canada: LOSS 10-7 ZACHARIAS VS Alberta: WIN 10-7 ZACHARIAS VS Quebec: WIN 4-3 ZACHARIAS VS Nova Scotia: LOSS 7-6 ZACHARIAS VS NWT: LOSS 8-6 ZACHARIAS VS Ontario: WIN 8-7 ZACHARIAS VS Yukon: WIN 12-3 ZACHARIAS VS British Columbia: WIN 6-5
FINAL ROUND-ROBIN STANDINGS: 8-0: Team Canada (Einarson) 5-3: Team Nova Scotia (Black) 5-3: Team Northwest Territories (Galusha) 5-3: Team Manitoba (Zacharias) 4-4: Ontario (Duncan) 3-5: Team Alberta (Walker) 3-5: Team Quebec (St-Georges) 3-5 British Columbia (Arsenault) 0-8: Yukon (Birnie)
(Thursday, 6PM, February 3) ABSOLUTELY FLEURY SHOULD PLAY – AND SHE DID, VERY WELL: There was a social media debate Thursday. Tracy Fleury was out of Covid protocol and ready to play. But should she – they asked. Or should she let Selena Njegovan continue to throw last – they asked.
She played and threw last – and even if they had lost, that was absolutely the right decision. First, the game was not critical as they had already confirmed a playoff berth. Obviously the win was important but they could play on if they lost. And second, it was logical to give Tracy the full chance to test herself. If there were unidentified implications of the several days off – better to learn them today so an informed decision could be made for tomorrow’s game.
So she played – and shot 85%, outscoring Krista McCarville by a fully 20 percentage points.
They’ll go into the Friday playoff round as the top team in the pool so they earn a bye to the 6PM draw, awaiting the winner between McCarville (Northern Ontario) and Christina Black (Nova Scotia).
Team Fleury finished with a 7W-1L record while Andrea a (New Brunswick) finished 6W-2L and McCarville finished third in the group with a 5W-3L record.
FLEURY VS Northern Ontario: WIN 8-6 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Nunavut: WIN 8-2 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Nfld-Labrador: WIN 8-3 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Wild Card-Saskatchewan: WIN 9-4 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Wild Card-Ontario: WIN 11-9 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Prince Edward Island: WIN 9-1 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Saskatchewan: WIN 9-7 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS New Brunswick: LOSS 6-5
FINAL ROUND-ROBIN STANDINGS: 7-1: Wild Card-Manitoba (Fleury/Njegovan) 6-2: Team New Brunswick (Crawford) 5-3: Northern Ontario (McCarville) 4-3: Saskatchewan (Barker) 4-4: Wild Card-Ontario (Homan/Miskew) 4-4: Wild Card – Saskatchewan (Carey) 4-4: Prince Edward Island (Birt) 2-6: Newfoundland-Labrador (Hill) 0-8: Nunavut (MacPhail)
(Wednesday 9PM, February 2) EINARSON, FLEURY WILL ADVANCE, ZACHARIAS MUST WIN THURSDAY: Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada and the Selena Njegovan skipped Tracy Fleury Team Wild Card have, with games to play Thursday, already assured themselves of advancing to the next round at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay. Mackenzie Zacharias and Team Manitoba won their only game Wednesday to stay firmly in the chase for one of the three spots to advance from their pool.
The Manitoba Wild Card team of Tracy Fleury won a pair of games on Wednesday to improve to 6W-1L. That record assures them of advancing to the next round with a game to play on the afternoon draw Thursday against Northern Ontario. New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford is also assured of advancing, also with a 6W-1L record. Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville is at 5W-2L and can grab the third ‘next round’ berth with a win over Team Fleury. If Fleury/Njegovan win, then Saskatchewan can also improve to 5W-2L by beating the Emma Miskew-skipped Ontario Wild Card team.
FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Nunavut: WIN 8-2 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Nfld-Labrador: WIN 8-3 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Wild Card-Saskatchewan: WIN 9-4 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Wild Card-Ontario: WIN 11-9 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Prince Edward Island: WIN 9-1 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Saskatchewan: WIN 9-7 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS New Brunswick: LOSS 6-5
STANDINGS AFTER WEDNESDAY: 6-1: Team New Brunswick (Crawford) 6-1: Wild Card-Manitoba (Fleury/Njegovan) 5-2: Northern Ontario (McCarville) 4-3: Saskatchewan (Barker) 3-4: Wild Card-Ontario (Homan/Miskew) 3-4: Wild Card – Saskatchewan (Carey) 3-4: Prince Edward Island (Birt) 2-5: Newfoundland-Labrador (Hill) 0-8: Nunavut (MacPhail)
Team Canada is still perfect at 7W-0L following an 8-5 win over Northwest Territories (Kerry Galusha) in their only game of the day Wednesday. She ends the round robin, assured of advancing, with one game Thursday. That game will be on the evening draw – against Mackenzie Zacharias and Team Manitoba.
A win Wednesday, 4-3 in an extra end over Quebec, kept Team Manitoba’s hopes very much alive. However, Zacharias faces a very tough day Thursday. On the early draw, they play Alberta’s Laura Walker team and then finish the preliminary round with the game against Team Einarson. With a record of 4W-2L, Zacharias and her Altona team need at least one win, and may need to win both, to have advance.
EINARSON VS NWT: Win 8-5 EINARSON VS Yukon: WIN 6-4 EINARSON VS BC: WIN 10-5 EINARSON VS Alberta: WIN 10-5 EINARSON VS Quebec: WIN 8-5 EINARSON VS Nova Scotia: WIN 6-3 EINARSON VS Ontario: WIN 12-5
ZACHARIAS VS Quebec: WIN 4-3 ZACHARIAS VS Nova Scotia: LOSS 7-6 ZACHARIAS VS NWT: LOSS 8-6 ZACHARIAS VS Ontario: WIN 8-7 ZACHARIAS VS Yukon: WIN 12-3 ZACHARIAS VS British Columbia: WIN 6-5
STANDINGS AFTER WEDNESDAY: 7-0: Team Canada (Einarson) 4-2: Team Northwest Territories (Galusha) 4-2: Team Manitoba (Zacharias) 4-2: Team Nova Scotia (Black) 3-3: Team Alberta (Walker) 3-4: Ontario (Duncan) 2-4: Team Quebec (St-Georges) 1-5 British Columbia (Arsenault) 0-6: Yukon (Birnie)
(Tuesday 10PM, February 1)TOUGH TUESDAY FOR ZACHARIAS; EINARSON STILL PERFECT Mackenzie Zacharias and her Team Manitoba had a tough day Tuesday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. A pair of losses has dropped their record to 3W-2L. In both games, Team Zacharias mounted strong comebacks but were unable to overcome early deficits. On the morning draw, they trailed Kerry Galusha (NWT) by 4 after two ends and 7-2 after six but fought back to trail 8-6 loss coming home. On the evening draw Christina Black (NS), they again trailed by 4 after two ends and 6-2 after six but fought back to trail 7-5 coming home.
Kerri Einarson and her Team Canada won a pair of games Tuesday to improve their perfect record to 6W-0L with two games to play. On the morning draw, a four on the third end was the base for a 10-5 win over Mary Anne Arsenault (BC) They opened the evening draw against Hailey Birnie (Yukon) with a 4 ender and went on to a 6-4 victory.
EINARSON VS Yukon: WIN 6-4 EINARSON VS BC: WIN 10-5 EINARSON VS Alberta: WIN 10-5 EINARSON VS Quebec: WIN 8-5 EINARSON VS Nova Scotia: WIN 6-3 EINARSON VS Ontario: WIN 12-5
ZACHARIAS VS Nova Scotia: LOSS 7-6 ZACHARIAS VS NWT: LOSS 8-6 ZACHARIAS VS Ontario: WIN 8-7 ZACHARIAS VS Yukon: WIN 12-3 ZACHARIAS VS British Columbia: WIN 6-5
STANDINGS AFTER TUESDAY:
6-0: Team Canada (Einarson) 4-1: Team Northwest Territories (Galusha) 3-2: Team Manitoba (Zacharias) 3-2: Team Nova Scotia (Black) 3-2: Team Alberta (Walker) 2-3: Team Quebec (St-Georges) 2-4: Ontario (Duncan) 1-5 British Columbia (Arsenault) 0-5: Yukon (Birnie)
Meanwhile, Selena Njegovan continues to skip Team Fleury and continues to lead them to victory. Tuesday’s one game was against the Saskatchewan Wild Card entry skipped by Chelsea Carey. They improved to a 4W-1L record with a 9-4 win, although the somewhat unflattering score for Carey included a stolen three coming home when Carey had to ‘go for it’ but simply had no shot with her final stone of the game. Team Fleury plays two games Wednesday, against Nfld-Labrador and Nunavut.
FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Wild Card-Saskatchewan: WIN 9-4 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Wild Card-Ontario: WIN 11-9 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Prince Edward Island: WIN 9-1 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Saskatchewan: WIN 9-7 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS New Brunswick: LOSS 6-5
STANDINGS AFTER TUESDAY:
5-0: Team New Brunswick (Crawford) 4-1: Wild Card-Manitoba (Fleury/Njegovan) 3-2: Northern Ontario (McCarville) 3-2: Saskatchewan (Barker) 3-3: Wild Card-Ontario (Homan/Miskew) 2-3: Wild Card – Saskatchewan (Carey) 2-3: Newfoundland-Labrador (Hill) 2-4: Prince Edward Island (Birt) 0-6: Nunavut (MacPhail)
(Monday 5PM, January 31)A PERFECT MANITOBA MONDAY AT THE SCOTTIES: Manitoba’s three team won their only games of the day on the first two draws Monday – in three distinctly different manners. In their pool, Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada dominated Alberta’s Laura Walker, scoring two three’s and two deuces in an 8-end victory, while Mackenzie Zacharias and Team Manitoba gave up a three point lead and had to go an extra end in beating Ontario’s Hollie Duncan. The two lead the way in their pool: Team Canada is perfect at 4W-0L while Team Manitoba has already had their bye and are also perfect at 3W-0L.
EINARSON VS Alberta: WIN 10-5 EINARSON VS Quebec: WIN 8-5 EINARSON VS Nova Scotia: WIN 6-3 EINARSON VS Ontario: WIN 12-5
ZACHARIAS VS Ontario: WIN 8-7 ZACHARIAS VS Yukon: WIN 12-3 ZACHARIAS VS British Columbia: WIN 6-5
Both teams will play two games Tuesday. Current standings:
4-0: Team Canada (Einarson) 3-0: Team Manitoba (Zacharias) 2-1: Team Nova Scotia (Black) 2-1: Team Northwest Territories (Galusha) 2-2: Team Quebec (St-Georges) 2-2: Team Alberta (Walker) 1-3 British Columbia (Arsenault) 0-3: Yukon (Birnie) 0-4: Ontario (Duncan)
In the other pool Selena Njegovan is proving her ability to move back to the tee, if/when the future time comes when that becomes necessary. After the close (6-5 loss) opening draw loss to still undefeated Andrea Crawford and her Nova Scotia team, Njegovan has skipped the Tracy Fleury team to three consecutive victories with their bye on Monday evening.
FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Wild Card-Ontario: WIN 11-9 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Prince Edward Island: WIN 9-1 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Saskatchewan: WIN 9-7 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS New Brunswick: LOSS 6-5
The Njegovan led Fleury team has one game Tuesday. Group standings:
4-0: Team New Brunswick (Crawford) 3-1: Wild Card-Manitoba (Fleury/Njegovan) 2-1: Northern Ontario (McCarville) 2-1: Saskatchewan (Barker) 2-2: Wild Card-Ontario (Homan/Miskew) 1-2: Wild Card – Saskatchewan (Carey) 1-2: Newfoundland-Labrador (Hill) 1-3: Prince Edward Island (Birt) 0-4: Nunavut (MacPhail)
(Sunday 10PM, January 30)STRONG SCOTTIES START FOR MANITOBA’S TEAMS: The three Manitoba teams had a strong opening weekend at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay.
Playing in the same pool, Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada has marked up three wins to lead the way. Mackenzie Zacharias and her Team Manitoba had their bye on the opening weekend but won the two games they played.
EINARSON VS Quebec: WIN 8-5 EINARSON VS Nova Scotia: WIN 6-3 EINARSON VS Ontario: WIN 12-5
ZACHARIAS VS Yukon: WIN 12-3 ZACHARIAS VS British Columbia: WIN 6-5
As a result of opening weekend play, the two Manitoba teams top the standings in their pool.
3-0: Team Canada (Einarson) 2-0: Team Manitoba (Zacharias) 2-1: Team Nova Scotia (Black) 2-1: Team Quebec (St-Georges) 2-1: Team Alberta (Walker) 1-1: Team Northwest Territories (Galusha) 0-2: Yukon (Birnie) 0-3 British Columbia (Arsenault) 0-3: Ontario (Duncan)
In the other pool, the Wild Card Manitoba entry of Tracy Fleury has an impressive 2W-1L start. After losing their opener to New Brunswick, who are the only unbeaten team in the group after three games, the East St. Paul team won two games on Sunday. Selena Njegovan has had to skip the team with Fleury being in covid-protocol isolation after a positive test result.
FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Prince Edward Island: WIN 9-1 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS Saskatchewan: WIN 9-7 FLEURY/NJEGOVAN VS New Brunswick: LOSS 6-5
The two Team Fleury wins have them squarely in the top half of the pool standings after the opening weekend.
3-0: Team New Brunswick (Crawford) 2-1: Wild Card-Manitoba (Fleury/Njegovan) 2-1: Wild Card-Ontario (Homan/Miskew) 2-1: Northern Ontario (McCarville) 1-1: Saskatchewan (Barker) 1-1: Wild Card – Saskatchewan (Carey) 1-1 Prince Edward Island (Birt) 0-2: Newfoundland-Labrador (Hill) 0-3: Nunavut (MacPhail)
Manitoba teams skipped by Kerri Einarson (Team Canada), Tracy Fleury (Wild Card #1), and Mackenzie Zacharias (Team Manitoba) are in Thunder Bay for the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts which begins play this evening. For at least the round-robin session, there will be no fans in the building as Curling Canada implements aggressive protocols to meet current health regulations.
Einarson and Zacharias are in the same pool of nine teams. They will not meet until the final round-robin draw on Thursday evening. Team Fleury will begin play with Selena Njegovan moving up to skip as Tracey Fleury misses the opening games due to a positive test and therefore starting the event in the Covid protocols.
Team Canada seeks to join Jennifer Jones and Vera Pezer as consecutive three-time champions and continue a chase to join Colleen Jones as the only consecutive four time champion.
Team Fleury and Team Zacharias are chasing their own form of Manitoba curling history. Since 1982 (40 years ago), when Scott Paper became the sponsor, only three Manitoba skips have won the Canadian Scotties championship. Connie Laliberte achieved legendary status. Jennifer Jones has already achieved legendary status and continues to write her story with her appearance in the next couple of weeks at the Olympics, and Kerri Einarson could begin to approach legendary status with her third consecutive win.
Zacharias, with her entire World Junior Champion team intact, and Fleury, ranked #1 in the world but with that disappointing final game loss in the Trials, would become just the fourth Manitoba skip to win a Canadian Scotties title. And it would be just the ninth Team Manitoba to win (Laliberte 1984, 1992 & 1995; Jones 2008, 2015 & 2018; Einarson 2020 & 2021) but Jones, of course, also won back-to-back as Team Canada in 2009 & 2010.
Team Fleury was seeded #1 while Einarson was #3 (behind #2 Laura Walker-Alberta) while Zacharias was ranked in the top third of the field at #6.
Fair to the other team members or not, the inevitable comparisons in curling always seem to be made between the skips – especially when it comes to historical records.
The reason is simple – it is easy! A little easier than comparing thirds – a lot easier than comparing thirds with leads. Easy because the two names are attached to the team and that’s the identity that mostly shows up in articles like this. Also easy because their name always comes first on the historical record list.
The story idea started from the realization that just two curling seasons ago, Mackenzie Zacharias (and her entire team) had won the Manitoba, Canadian, and World Juniors.
Who was the last Manitoba World Junior champion to win the Manitoba women’s or men’s provincial title?
Answer? It has never happened? Kelly MacKenzie (Scott), of course, won a BC women’s and went on to win the world title – but not Manitoba. Bob Ursel, David Hamblin, Braden Calvert: none of them won the Manitoba men’s although it is fair to say that Calvert still could.
So what about Canadian Junior champions – and did anyone do it in the second season after winning the Canadian Junior?
Answer? Go back almost 40 years. Darcy Kirkness skipped the 1984 Manitoba and Canadian Junior champion team (before there was a world championship so they had no chance there!). Her team of Barb Kirkness, Janet Harvey and Barb Fetch won Manitoba and Canada. In 1986, the Kirkness sisters and Barb Fetch (with Faye Irwin) won the Manitoba women’s title. That’s the same second season after the junior championship as with the Zacharias sisters – and it would be splitting hairs to suggest the December timing this year means the Altona team actually did it a little sooner.
For those who don’t recognize the name – that’s the same Darcy Robertson as was competing this year in Carberry.
So Team Zacharias of 2020 and 2022 shares the accomplishment of winning “soonest after Canadian Junior title” with Team Kirkness of 1984 & 1986 (in Manitoba curling!).
However, Team Zacharias stands alone in Manitoba curling history in one regard. Mackenzie & Emily Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, and Lauren Lenentine are the ONLY intact Manitoba Junior Champion team, ever, to go on and win a Manitoba Women’s or Men’s championship.
END 10: Zacharias lead Lauren Lenetine made two perfect tick shots, moving one guard to within 18 inches of the wall and the other to about two inches from the wall. Second Emily Zacharias followed with a hit & roll for a biter behind Lenetine’s two stones which had rolled nearly out of play themselves. From there, Watling threw guards – Zacharias threw peels.
As Zacharias settled in the hack to throw her final shot, she had the security of that biter. SHe didn’t have to stick for the win – but no mistake she hit and stuck for two and the win.
END 9: With skips stones to come, Zacharias had one counter, a stone biting the back corner of the 12 foot circle. Watling’s draw to it was a foot short and angled, allowing Zacharias to blast it out. After a time out, Watling elected to play the hit to remove the Zacharias counter. She rolled to bite the back of the rings at the centre line and Zacharias blanked.
END 8: A Zacharias centre guard and a Watling draw behind it to the front edge of the button and the game was on. As Watling went to throw her last rock, she faced four Zacharias counters but they were all around the 12 foot circle. A hit and roll from the outside to the four foot gave Watling a single point and a tie.
END 7: Zacharias, with her first stone, squeaked past a corner guard to remove a Watling stone and roll buried. She had two behind the guard, forcing Watling to play a runback. She removed one Zacharias stone but left the skip a draw for two – a draw which had to be full 12 foot and just made with full sweeping.
END 6: The first four stones were ‘by the book’. Watling opened the end with a stone on the centre line biting the eight foot circle. A Zacharias corner. A Watling centre guard bit the rings and Zacharias went behind her own corner guard. As the end unfolded, Watling with her last rock had an outside raise opportunity on her own stone in the front corner of the 12 foot circle. Zacharias had two counters angles behind it. Watling killed one and rolled for shot stone – leaving Zacharias a delicate shot to angle the shot stone past her own and possibly count two. She curled up too much and the jam resulted in a Watling steal of one and the first lead of the game for the Winnipeg team.
END 5: A first stone Watling double kill attempt jammed on her own stone in the back 12 foot circle leaving Zacharias lying second shot stone. She removed the shot stone and Watling was forced to hot for a single. And a tie (3-3) at the mid-game break.
END 4: Watling controlled play and had Zacharias in trouble. Facing three, Zacharias played a tricky draw that had to curl past a mid-high guard, and a rock in the top eight foot, to count one in the four foot circle.
END 3: Zacharias’ first rock in the four foot and as the end played out looked positioned to steal a single. Watling with her first stone cleared three centre guards, rolling one of her own to bite the rings as third shot. Zacharias considered a guard on her own shot rock but cautiously elected to hit the biter and roll for a guard. She did not get the roll and Watling hit for two.
END 2: A Watling corner and a Zacharias rock almost biting the 12 foot circle were the only “clutter’ when Zacharias went to the hack to throw her first stone. She threw a perfect draw the top corner of the four foot – fully buried behind her own stone. Watling drew to it but was about an inch short of perfect. Zacharias drew full four foot for a pair.
END 1: In the semi-final, there were exactly 14 rocks in play at the conclusion of the opening end. A different story in the final – a simple, clean end. Mackenzie Zacharias and her young Altona team, who are still the reigning World Junior Champions, had a simple out-turn hit up the centre line to blank.
(Carberry Draw 13: December 18) The final round of play in the Carberry Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer ended in dramatic fashion Saturday afternoon.
The fate of every team depended on the outcome of their own game. Three also depended on the outcome of the game on Sheet A.
Mackenzie Zacharias controlled her own fate. She had to beat Kaitlyn Jones to advance to the Sunday playoff round.
Darcy Robertson had to beat Kristy Watling, to force a tie if Zacharias lost.
Tracy Fleury and Kristy McDonald played each other – the winner would also be in the tie if Zacharias lost.
The result was three entertaining games which went to the final shots.
Robertson, up one coming home without hammer, made a perfect draw to the four-foot circle behind her own rock biting the front of the rings. Watling had no choice but to play the run-double kill. She failed and Robertson had done her job – winning 7-5.
McDonald led Fleury 9-6 coming home and Fleury had hammer. With her final stone, McDonald faced four and played a double kill but nose hit, allowing Fleury a draw for 4 and victory. Fleury had done her job – winning 10-9.
But Zacharias broke their hearts – drawing to the button with her last shot coming home and a 6-5 win over Jones.
Jones, Watling and Zacharias advance to the Sunday playoffs. Zacharias owns the bye to the final as her team beat the other two in their preliminary round meetings.
(Carberry Draw 12: December 18) WATLING, JONES ADVANCE TO SUNDAY PLAYOFFS … The Kaitlyn Jones/Abby Ackland team and Kristy Watling have improved their records to 6W-1L and the two are assured of advancing to tomorrow’s playoff round. Mackenzie Zacharias improved to 5W-2L and, with a win later Saturday, willbe the third team in the playoffs.
If Zacharias loses, the chase for the third spot will be wide open as the other three teams all have 4W-3L records.
Robertson tasted defeat first Saturday moring. It was indicative of Darcy Robertson’s day that on the fourth end, Robertson had a rock full in the back of the four-foot circle and yet Jones had an open draw to the front half of the four foot circle for four. It was the Jones/Ackland foursome’s second four of the game as they opened with a four as well. Robertson fought back to trail 9-6 after six but a “go-for-it” seventh went wrong and a big score ended the game.
Jones 410 400 5x =14 Robertson 002 031 0x =6
Trailing 3-1 playing the fourth, Watling looked to be setting up a deuce but Kristy McDonald drew to the eight foot partly open but angled onto a Watling rock biting the back of the eight foot. Watling tried to blast it out but left a steal of one and trailed 4-1. On the fifth end, facing three, McDonald’s last stone draw to a Watling stone in the back of the four foot was just heavy and rolled open allowing Watling a hit for four and a 5-4 lead at the mid-game break. The Watling foursome controlled play from there and led 10-6 playing the ninth enroute to a 10-7 victory.
McDonald 201 100 201 x =7 Watling 010 043 020 x =10
In the game between Mackenzie Zacharias and Tracy Fleury, the two teams which had come into the championship round at 3W-2L, Team Zacharias posted their second consecutive win and effectively ended the Team Fleury run. Zacharias established a 6-2 lead after five ends and controlled play from there although she had to make a saving angle raise takeout with her first stone facing three on the eighth end. The end result was a stolen point when Fleury was unable to remove a pair of counters. A deuce on end nine got Fleury within two and she was laying three when Zacharias delievered her final stone of the game. A well placed Fleury final draw meant Zacharias had to hit and roll in to win – she made no mistake.
On the 4PM draw, Zachaias plays Jones, Watling plays Robertson, and McDonald plays Fleury
(Carberry Draw 11: December 17)WATLING, JONES AT 5W-1L, FOUR AT 4W-2L .. Coming into the championship round at the Carberry Scotties with a 3W-2L record, Mackenzie Zacharias and her young Altona knew they faced the daunting task of probably having to win three games in a row to reach the playoffs.
They started the quest decisively, scoring four multiple ends in the first five to post a 10-2 short game victory over previously unbeaten Kristy Watling.
The big shot of the game was an angle raise takeout on the third end by skip Mackenzie Zacharias for a three and a three point lead.
Zacharias 203 32x =10 Watling 020 00x =2
The Watling loss brings her back into a tie with Kaitlyn Jones/Abby Ackland who defeated the Kristy McDonald team. McDonald took a two point lead on the sixth end with a last rock draw to bite the four foot, a draw which took maximum effort by her sweepers but Jones/Ackland scored singles in the next two ends to tie at 4-4 after eight ends. McDonald was forced to one on the ninth and Kaitlyn Jones made no mistake on her tenth end last shot tap on a stone in the back four foot for two and a 6-5 win.
McDonald 100 102 001 0 =5 Jones 001 010 110 2 =6
Like Zacharias, top seeded Tracy Fleury came into this round at 3W-2L and needs a trio of victories. She got the first Friday evening with a win over Darcy Robertson. Leading all the way, Fleury was up 6-4 coming home and had a last rock open hit for a 7-4 win. Fleury and Robertson are now tied with Zacharias at 4W-2L.
(Carberry Draw #8: December 16) ROBERTSON, MCDONALD ADVANCE TO NEXT ROUND: ONE SPOT LEFT … Former champion Kristy McDonald had a great day personally Thursday at the Scotties in Carberry. On the noon draw she won the game with a last draw freeze on the button. On the late draw, she won her team the first end hammer by covering the pinhole in the pre-game draw contest for hammer.
Winning last shot, however, is not as important as what you do with it. McDonald used it to make a final shot angled run-back on a rock halfway to the house – onto a pair of Mackenzie Zacharias stones in the four foot. The double kill turned trouble into a four-ender from which the young Altona team never recovered.
Zacharias scored a deuce on the second end but gave up five more on the fourth in a 9-3 short game victory. McDonald’s record is now 3W-1L with a game to play.
Zacharias 020 01x =3 McDonald 400 50x =9
The Zacharias foursome faces a must-win game tomorrow if they wish to advance to the championship.
Early on the game for first place in the pool, between Beth Peterson and Darcy Robertson (both Assiniboine Memorial), looked to be going Peterson’s way. They scored a single to open the game then stole one when Peterson made a hit and roll behind cover and watched Robertson slide deep with her draw. From there however the game went Robertson’s way, scoring six over the next four ends to lead 6-3 enroute to an 8-6 win. Team Robertson stays undefeated while Peterson drops to 2W-2L, tied with Zacharias.
In a game with local bragging rights on the line, Terry Ursel (Neepawa) and Alyssa Calvert (Carberry) met, both hoping to end their winless string at this year’s championship. The game was going in Ursel’s favour until Calvert scored a four on the ninth to tie coming home but the Ursel team recovered to score one and an 8-7 victory.
Calvert 110 010 004 0 =7 Ursel 003 201 010 1 =8
At 4W-0L, Robertson will advance to the championship round as will McDonald at 3W-2L. The third team advancing from this pool will be the final game winner between Zacharias and Peterson.
(Carberry Draw #7: December 16) WATLING, JONES, FLEURY ADVANCE TO NEXT ROUND ..The two unbeaten teams in the group met on Sheet A today in their next to last round-robin draw at the Carberry Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Both from Assiniboine Memorial, Kristy Watling and Kaitlyn Jones (skipped by Abby Ackland), Jones built a 3 point, 2 end lead but Watling authored a comeback win.
The ninth end was pivotal. Tied 4-4 with hammer, Team Jones gave up a steal of one. To set up the steal, Watling drew the four foot facing two and watched Jones slide deep to give up the steal. The tenth saw the same storyline. Facing two, Jones had a last rock draw that needed to almost bite the four foot. She slid deep again as the rock had to be swept to try to curl it past a guard and the weight didn’t come off fast enough once past that guard.
Jones 120 010 000 0 =4 Watling 001 101 011 2 =7
Watling improves to 4W-0L while Jones is 3W-1L. The result of the game could be critical in determination of the first place team advancing from the championship round to the playoffs.
Needing a win to stay even with the loser of the Jones-Watling game, top seeded Tracey Fleury (East St. Paul) delivered, scoring an 8-4 victory over Jennifer Clark-Rouire (Miami). Fleury’s record is now 3W-1L while Clark-Rouire is still winless.
Fleury 030 011 021 x =8 Clark-Rouire 100 200 100 x =4
Gaining experience with each game, Meghan Walter (East St. Paul) and Shae Bevan (St. Vital) met in the third game on the 4PM draw. Up two coming home, and facing two Bevan stones in the four foot, Walter’s last shot runback attempt did not work out and Bevan drew for a third point and the teams’s first win. The Walter record falls to 1W-3L.
Walter 010 200 011 0 =5 Bevan 001 001 100 3 =6
With one game left to play in the round-robin, the Watling, Jones and Fleury teams are assured of advancing to the championship round from this pool.
(Carberry Draw #6: December 16)ROBERTSON AT 3W-0L, THREE AT 2W-1L ..The noon draw at the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer offered three much more competitive games than had been played on the opening draw Thursday.
Results of Draw #6 in Carberry put Darcy Robertson (Assiniboine Memorial) in first place at 3W-2L with three teams right behind at 2W-1L. Kristy McDonald (Granite), Beth Peterson (Assiniboine Memorial), and Mackenzie Zacharias (Altona) all share second place in the pool.
McDonald set up her win with a triple kill to count two on the seventh end, but the game winner was her clutch last shot coming home draw to the button.
That draw came to rest near frozen to a Beth Peterson (Assiniboine Memorial) stone on the back of the button. Peterson attempted to negotiate a narrow port with a hit but there is question whether the McDonald stone could be removed. We’ll never know. McDonald stole for a 10-8 victory.
The local team skipped by Alyssa Calvert gave Team Zacharias all they could handle. Tied coming home, Zacharias nose hit a centre guard peel attempt, allowing Calvert to draw behind. She reached the full eight foot so Zacharias just had to be a little better with her final stone of the end. The young Altona skip teased the local fans as her draw slid through the four foot circle but came to rest as shot stone in the back eight-foot.
Terry Ursel’s Neepawa team took their third loss as Team Robertson improved to 3W-0L. Ursel controlled the first half of the game, leading 4-1 after four ends. Robertson fought back to lead 5-4 and forced Ursel to take a single for a 5-5 tie after none ends. Lying second shot, Robertson had an open hit for the 7-5 victory.
(Carberry Draw #5, December 16) WATLING, JONES STAY PERFECT Three teams advance from each group to the championship round of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer and three teams are separating themselves from the rest in the group which played this morning in Carberry,
The Kristy Watling and Kaitlyn Jones teams (both Assiniboine Memorial) stayed undefeated while top seed Tracey Fleury (East St. Paul) improved to 2W-1L on the morning draw.
The Jons team, skipped by Abby Ackland, posted a shut-out over Shae Bevan (St. Vital) while Watling controlled play in a 10-5 eight end win over Jennifer Clark-Rouire (Miami).
The Fleury win was also a short game victory over Megham Walter (East St. Paul)
Fleury 202 204 x =10 Walter 010 010 x = 2
At the conclusion of round-robin play, three teams will advance to the championship round from each pool. Their records carry forward with them as they play the three teams from the other pool. The top three after that will advance to the playoff round; #1 direct to the final #’s 2 & 3 to the semi-final.
Mackenzie Zacharias and her Altona team (Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine) were the winners Sunday of the Manitoba Curling Tour final at Thistle – their first MCT Championship.
The eight team championship was played in two pools of four and Team Zacharias were 2W-1L to advance to the semifinals where they posted a 7-6 extra end victory over Kristy Watling. The final was a short-game victory over Kristy McDonald, who had reached the final with a win over Kim Link and her team, prepping for their upcoming trip to the Canadian Seniors.
Zacharias’ first prize purse is $1,600. Kristy McDonald and her team earn $1,000 toward their season expenses while Kristy Watling and Kim Link’s teams each pick up $700.
In the Men’s MCT final, Ryan Wiebe (Ty Dilello, Sean & Adam Flatt) was a 5-4 winer over Riley Smith. It was a well-played game with a lot of rocks in play and the young men favouring the big weight hits so much on display at the elite level these days.
Wiebe was in his third game of the day, having beaten Braden Calvert (7-1) in the quarter-final and Corey Chambers (5-2) in the semi-final.
Smith, who had a first round bye to the semi-final, beat Jacques Gauthier (4-2) in the semi-final. Gauthier had beaten Tanner Lott (skipping the Pat Simmons team) in an extra-end (6-5) semi-final.
The final four earned the same prize money as the women’s final four. The quarter-finalist teams both earned $500.
For Wiebe and the Flatt brothers, it was a repeat victory as they had won the previous (2019) MCT title as well.