The best of the best in Canadian women's curling have been in Sydney, Nova Scotia for the past several days. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts has taken the attention of curling fans from coast to coast with teams from every province and territory vying to be the next representatives of the country on the international stage.
A lot has been said about players and teams like last year's winners, led by skip Jennifer Jones, or Ontario skip Rachel Homan and her talented crew. But with the spotlight covering some of the other teams, one rink has silently emerged from the pack as a contender to make a deep run in this year's tournament and be crowned as champions.
Team Saskatchewan continues to truck on at the 2019 Scotties as they prepare themselves for their next set of matches in the championship pool. It seems as though the group out of the Twin Rivers Curling Club in North Battleford continues to grow throughout the event and gain momentum with every powering performance on the ice.
After finishing the first round with 5 wins and 2 losses, which was good enough for a second-place tie in Pool B with Prince Edward Island, the white and green jacket wearers have continued their strong strides into the final 8.
In their first championship pool match yesterday, skip Robyn Silvernagle and her teammates routed Northern Ontario 11-5 in 9 ends, a side that had finished with a similar record as Saskatcheawn in the opening round. Then in their second game, Silvernagle held off British Columbia's Sarah Wark in 10 to take it 8-6, improving the prairie province's record to 7-2 after Day 6.
Silvernagle and co. have now won five consecutive games as they try to lock in a spot in the playoffs. The ladies are capturing momentum at the best time going into a couple difficult matches in today's draw.
This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Atlantic (12:30 p.m. local), Saskatchewan will line up against Alberta (7-2) in each team's third game of the championship phase. Following an undefeated run in Pool A action, the Albertans dropped their two games yesterday, losing 10-8 to Canada and 10-6 to Prince Edward Island.
Then during the evening games at 7:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. local), Silvernagle will take on Homan and her Ontario rink to wrap up the round. Homan has claimed impressive wins of her own recently, defeating the Wild Card team from Alberta 9-2 and Team Canada 9-6.
Out of the last eight provinces, only four teams will advance to the playoffs. If Silvernagle, Lawton, Thevenot and Huskin can clinch 1st or 2nd place after today's matches, that will give them the best shot of making it into the final. And if they end up taking it all, it will be the first time since 2011 that a team from Saskatchewan has won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, when Amber Holland took down Jennifer Jones as Team Canada for the gold medal.