Strath unfazed by early deficit

JIM BENDER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

It was her first women's provincial game in a town that was hosting its first Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Winkler's Kaileigh Strath recorded the first win of her fledgling competitive career.

Strath rebounded from a 5-2 deficit after surrendering a four-ender in the sixth end to upset East St. Paul's Kim Link 7-5 at the Shamrock Centre yesterday morning.

"That just proves to people that we deserve to be here and we don't get down on ourselves after giving up a big end like that," said Strath, supported by third Sabrina Neufeld, second Karen Hodgson and Brenna Philp. "We definitely believe in ourselves."

Strath, 22, then followed that up by taking Fort Rouge's Joelle Brown to an extra end before bowing 10-6 to her in the afternoon.

"That was a really good game, too, and we forced her into an extra end after being down," Strath said. "We've played against these teams all year so this was no different than anywhere else."

Actually, it was different because it was on arena ice before a live crowd.

"I wasn't nervous, just excited and that excitement faded away once we got into the (first) game," said Strath, who lost two junior women's provincial finals.

Actually, Strath's team has plenty of provincial junior experience. Neufeld won three straight Manitoba titles playing third for Calleen Neufeld (no relation) and Hodgson won one playing second for Tasha Hunter in 2004. Both Hodgson and Philp have also played women's provincials before.

The team plays out of Winkler because that is where Neufeld lives. Strath actually lives in Brandon while both Hodgson and Philp live in Winnipeg. Yet, the foursome still won almost $5,000 on the Manitoba Curling Tour -- 10th overall and sixth among Manitoba teams.

Brown, who had also beaten Tanis Fortin of The Pas 10-5, improved to 2-0 and is tied atop her pool with clubmate Barb Spencer, the defending champ, and Wildewood's Karen Fallis.

Spencer sunk both Terry Ursel of Plumas and Wheat City's Liza Park by identical 10-4 scores. Fallis nipped Park 7-6 and edged Ursel 6-4.

Link rebounded from her loss to Strath by posting a 6-2 victory over Tanis Fortin of The Pas and, like Strath, is 1-1.

The unbeaten top seeds in the other pool were in action on the late draw last night.

Play continues today with draws at 8:30 a.m., 12:15, 4 and 7:45 p.m.

ALTONA GETS HEARTS: Curl Manitoba also announced that the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts has been awarded to Altona, the first time that the southern Manitoba town of about 4,000 people will host such a major provincial curling event. The tourney will be held at the Millennium Exhibition Centre, Jan. 26-30. "We are excited about this opportunity and we thank Curl Manitoba for their vote of confidence," co-host Al Friesen said in a release.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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