Jennifer Jones shoots a stone during the 12th round-robin draw of the Players' Championship on April 12, 2019, in Toronto. (Anil Mungal)

Jones sneaks into Players’ Championship playoffs

April 12, 2019, 7:03 PM

TORONTO — A big two-win Friday pushed Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones into the Players’ Championship playoffs.

Team Jones earned a 5-4 extra-end win over reigning world champions Team Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland during the morning draw at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre and followed that up in the afternoon with another intense 5-3 victory over Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan.

Jones, who has won six Players’ Championship women’s titles, finished round-robin play with a 3-2 record to qualify for the quarterfinals.

“We really wanted to come out strong in both games,” Team Jones second Jocelyn Peterman said. “We did what we needed to do and qualified for the playoffs and that was what we were hoping for.”

The turning point in the game against Homan came off of a fortunate break in the sixth end. Jones was up by one point but Homan held the hammer and was threatening to score with several rocks cluttering the house. An amazing angle raise from Jones on her last slid under cover for shot rock that saved it. Homan still had a slight chance at making a raise of her own, however, she crashed on a guard and conceded a point.

“That was a great shot by Jenn,” Peterman said. “They still had a little bit of an opportunity there. We were really fortunate and it was really good for us to get the steal.”

Homan, who has won a record 10 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s titles, was limited to just a single in seven. Jones was in a comfortable position up 4-3 with the hammer coming home and made her last shot of the final frame to add another point.

Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg topped the table at 5-0 to take the No. 1 seed. Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., and Team Robyn Silvernagle of North Battleford, Sask., were next in line with 4-1 records. Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., also ended at 3-2 tied with Jones.

Homan, Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa, Calgary’s Team Chelsea Carey, Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., all had 2-3 records. Carey and Einarson advanced based on draw-to-the-button shootout scores while Homan and Fujisawa will face off during the evening draw for the final women’s playoff spot.

Jones will play Scheidegger in the quarterfinals while Einarson faces Fleury, Silvernagle clashes with Carey and Hasselborg awaits the winner of the tiebreaker between Homan and Fujisawa.

Laura Walker subbed at second for Team Homan’s Joanne Courtney, who is pregnant and was feeling tired after Thursday’s games.

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Hasselborg crushed Carey 10-4, Fleury ousted Team Elena Stern 7-5, Silvernagle nipped Tirinzoni 6-5 and Einarson topped Scheidegger 7-2 during the 12th round-robin draw. Both Swiss squads of Stern and Tirinzoni were eliminated with 1-4 records.

Einarson was relieved to have made it through and avoid the tiebreakers.

“We knew we had to come out firing tonight and we knew how well Scheidegger and them were playing,” Einarson said. “We really came out and put a lot of pressure on them and played a really good game.”

Team Einarson shot 91 percent as a unit with their skip firing at a 95 percent clip scoring deuces in the first, fourth and sixth ends and added a single steal in the second. Scheidegger was held to lone points in three and five.

“I finally came out with a game that I played really well and my team played really well in front of me, too,” Einarson said. “It’s a really good confidence booster going into playoffs.”

The final men’s round-robin draw plus the women’s tiebreaker goes down at 8 p.m. ET with broadcast coverage available exclusively online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

Notes: The Players’ Championship is the sixth event and fourth major of the 2018-19 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tour featuring 12 of the top men’s teams and 12 of the top women’s teams in the world. … A combined purse of $300,000 is up for grabs with the winning teams cashing in $30,000 each. … Also on the line is the Pinty’s Cup awarded to the overall season points champions. Homan clinched the women’s title Thursday with the men’s title still up for grabs.