ST. JOHN'S -- Jenn Hanna kept her playoff hopes alive at the Scott Tournament of Hearts with the clutch shot of the event last night.
The Ottawa Curling Club skip threw her final stone through a narrow opening between two guards in front of the rings and raised her own stone in the eight-foot rings onto the button to score a 7-6 win over Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton at Mile One Stadium.
The win was the third straight for Hanna's Ontario squad and improved the team's record to 5-4 heading into the final day of the round-robin at the national women's curling championship.
"If I had been a betting person, I wouldn't have bet that I'd make that, either," said a relieved Hanna after the game.
Ontario, winners by a an 8-3 score earlier yesterday over Sandy Comeau's rink from New Brunswick, is tied for third with Comeau and Alberta's Cathy King.
MANITOBA ON TOP
Manitoba's Jennifer Jones leads the pack with a 7-2 mark, ahead of three teams jammed in second at 6-3: Team Canada's Colleen Jones, B.C.'s Kelly Scott and Saskatchewan.
Hanna took her time in the hack before delivering her final shot.
All eyes in the arena were on her as she kicked out, as all the other evening draws had been completed.
Hanna released the rock and watched it glide toward the two guards in front of the rings, separated by just a little more than a curling rock's space.
The stone moved through the port and made contact with her own rock in the eight-foot circle and moved it onto the button for the winning point.
"That was our best team shot since we've been together," said Ontario vice Pascale Letendre, who made the line call to get the rock through the port.
"That was a top-quality shot there. It was a great throw by Jenn, it was great sweeping and a great line call."
Hanna threw a similar shot on her previous stone, getting through the port to remove a Saskatchewan counter in the four-foot.
But Lawton, the Saskatchewan skip, responded with a fine draw, placing her stone on the four-foot behind one of the guards.
Saskatchewan had momentum in the second half of the game.
Hanna stole a deuce in the sixth end to take a 6-2 lead, but Lawton came back by scoring two in the seventh, then got steals of single points in the eighth and ninth.
She appeared to have Hanna on the ropes in the final end until the Ontario skip completed the shot.
"I think I lost about five pounds in sweat that game," said Hanna. "It was just meant to be, I guess."
Hanna said she needed to control her nerves before making the shot.
"When you let stress and pressure get a hold of you, those shots become really tough to make," she said.
Hanna plays her last two games of the round-robin against Alberta in the afternoon draw and Nova Scotia's Kay Zinck in the evening match.
Of the teams here, Team Canada and four-time defending champ Colleen Jones has the most momentum.
She beat B.C. last night for her fourth straight win and fifth in the last six games.
"I do think it's going to be a real slugfest to the end," said Jones. "But you never know. Sometimes these things shake down differently."
Jones began the tournament with two losses, but has rebounded into contention.
"I think we like where we're at for our play," she said. "We're glad that we came along because it certainly wasn't there when we were 0-2.
"I think we're ready to play really tough now."