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Einarson ousts Fleury in 3-4 Page Playoff

Team Canada, the two-time defending champions, will take on the loser of Saturday night's 1-2 Page Playoff in Sunday's semifinal.
Kerri Einarson
Kerri Einarson at the 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

THUNDER BAY – Kerri Einarson's dream of a three-peat is still alive.

The Team Canada skip, seeking a third straight Scotties Tournament of Hearts title, on Saturday erased an early 3-1 deficit to score an 11-6 win over the wild card rink skipped by Tracy Fleury in the 3-4 Page Playoffs.

The win propelled the Manitoba team into Sunday's semifinal against the loser of the 1-2 Page Playoff Saturday night between Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville and New Brunswick's Andrea Crawford.

Playing in a win-or-go-home game is nothing new for Team Canada, said third Val Sweeting.

“I think it's a position that we're familiar with. We have tended to take the tiebreaker route, so we're used to having our backs against the wall,” Sweeting said.

“We love when it gets down to one sheet out there. The fans are out there now, so it's amazing and we'e just got to enjoy the moment. You always like to have an extra life, but we're comfortable in the position that we were in.”

Who they play next doesn't really matter at this point, Einarson said.

“No preference whatsoever,” she said, moments after dispatching a Fleury rink that played without their skip for most of the week due to COVID-19.

“We've got to beat them both. Whoever we play first, we're ready.”

Team Canada, forced to one in the second, trailed 3-1 after the third, but bounced right back with three of their own in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. Fleury rebounded with a pair in the fifth to go up 5-4, but a four-spot for Einarson in the sixth gave the reigning champions the lead for good.

They'd steal two more in the seventh to go up 10-5 and the teams shook hands after nine.

“We got a couple misses out of them and ended up getting four,” Einarson said.

“Definitely that was the turning point of the game.”

Einarson said the team has been playing well all week, putting plenty of pressure on their opponents as much as possible.

It was no different Saturday at Fort William Gardens.

“We're just focusing on ourselves and one shot at a time.”

McCarville and Crawford take to the ice at 7 p.m., the winner advancing to Sunday's final and the loser getting a second shot in the semifinal.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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