Less than a week after Groundhog Day, Barb Spencer finds herself exactly where she was last year.
But she is hoping for a dramatically different result.
Spencer drew around cover to the button with the hammer in the 10th end to nip Fort Rouge clubmate Kristy Jenion 4-3 on the Page playoff one-versus-one match of the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Yellowhead Arena last night.
The top-seeded Spencer advances to today's 1:30 p.m. final where she will play the winner of this morning's semifinal.
Spencer beat St. Vital's Jennifer Jones in last year's one-one contest but then lost to Jones in the final. Jones went on to win both the Canadian and world women's crowns.
"Yeah, we're back in the final and we'd better not lose this one or I'll be pissed," Spencer said from Neepawa shortly after the victory. "I've lost four finals in women's so I need to improve that stat."
Today's winner will represent Manitoba at the Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Victoria, B.C., Feb. 21-March 1. Jones will be there as Team Canada.
"It would be great to go back again," said Spencer, a two-time Manitoba champ. "To win the (provincial) Scotties any time is an honour. You don't get too many chances and I wouldn't want to win it with any other girls."
Spencer last won the Manitoba title in 2003 with her sister, Darcy Robertson, at third. Robertson returned this year after taking a breather the last few years.
"I'd love to get back to the nationals now because you don't know how may more years you can still do it," said Spencer, also supported by her front end of second Brette Richards and Barb Enright.
Jenion drops into the semifinal versus clubmate Karen Porritt after suffering her first loss of the week. Porritt eliminated Morden's Chelsea Carey 9-5 in the two-two contest.
Although she lost her first game last night, it has still been an incredible week for Jenion's new team that went 7-0 through the round robin. New third Karen Klein has fit like a glove for the excitable redhead.
"I'm pretty intense and animated," Jenion readily admitted before the playoff.
"That's good because she keeps you fired up," Klein said. "But you have to remain calm and you have to have that influence on your skipper. That's what a good third is supposed to do, and you have to be the go-between between the skip and the front end because they're so young.
"And Kristy's a good skip. She's played great this week."
The new foursome has had instant success this season, earning the first provincial spot available through the floating berth bonspiel and earned some coin on the cashspiel circuit. That young front end of second Theresa Cannon and Jillian Sandison had shown no signs of jitters this week, said Klein who hooked up with Jenion when her long-time skip, Shauna Streich, decided to take the winter off to rest a problem ankle.
DREAM TEAM: Jenion was named the all-star skip by the Manitoba Curling Media Association. The third was Janice Blair (Porritt), second Brette Richards (Spencer) and lead Lindsay Titheridge (Carey).