Jennifer Jones drops stunner in 8-6 loss to PEI’s Suzanne Birt at Scotties

SYDNEY, N.S. – Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt upset Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones 8-6 on Monday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Jones scored a pair in the opening end before Birt posted three straight deuces thanks to a pair of steals. Birt won it with a single in the 10th end when Jones’s final stone overcurled.

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“I just think we put a little more pressure on,” Birt said. “We were getting our rocks in good spots and make them try to make shots. They struggled (with) a few shots early on so we just kept the pressure on and tried to capitalize.”

Birt gave up a steal of two in the eighth and blanked the ninth to keep the one-point lead with hammer coming home.

In the 10th, Jones tried a tap to lie two after Birt drew a piece of the button with her first throw. The teams shook hands after the Jones miss.

“I threw good weight and unfortunately it just got to the middle and the speed came off,” Jones said. “It should never have been light just based on the time. We’ve got to get a little bit better at figuring that out.”

Both teams were in a five-way tie for first place in Pool B at 2-1 after six draws.

Northwest Territories skip Kerry Galusha (second right) talks with her team as they take on New Brunswick at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C., on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.

In other early games, Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories beat Kelli Sharpe of Newfoundland and Labrador 8-4 and New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford dumped Yukon’s Nicole Baldwin 12-3.

Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle scored a pair in the 10th end for an 8-6 victory over Team Wild Card’s Casey Scheidegger, leaving both teams at 2-1.

Galusha was the other team with a share of top spot in Pool B. Two more draws were scheduled for later in the day at Centre 200.

Three Pool A teams were unbeaten entering the afternoon matchups. Ontario’s Rachel Homan, British Columbia’s Sarah Wark and Alberta’s Chelsea Carey were all 3-0.

Birt is making her 10th career appearance at the national women’s curling championship. Her best career Scotties result was a bronze medal in her first appearance in 2003.

Birt’s only other win over Jones in 11 career meetings came at the 2011 Scotties, when she topped the Winnipeg skip by the same 8-6 score.

Jones shares the all-time record with six Scotties titles.

The top four teams from each pool in the preliminary round will qualify for the championship round starting Thursday. The playoffs start Saturday and the final will be played Sunday.

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