Hanna rink fit to be tied

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S -- It's not the easiest way to win a Scott Tournament of Hearts championship ... but it's still a chance and that's good enough for Jenn Hanna.

Hanna and her Ottawa Curling Club teammates have advanced into the playoff round, but still have a tough road ahead.

"I wouldn't have thought this would have happened earlier in the week, but, you know what, I'm still pretty happy about it," said Hanna last night.

Her team of Pascale Letendre, Dawn Askin and her younger sister Stephanie Hanna lost its final game of the pre-playoff portion to Nova Scotia's Kaye Zinck, but managed to squeeze into the playoffs with some help from other teams.

Rebecca Jean MacPhee's team from PEI downed Canada's Colleen Jones 8-6 last night, and New Brunswick's Sandy Comeau beat Newfoundland's Heather Strong to create a four-way tie for the fourth and final playoff spot between Ontario, Canada, New Brunswick and Alberta.

Manitoba clinched top spot with a 9-7 win over the Territories and will meet Kelly Scott of B.C. in the Page Playoff 1-2 game tonight (6 p.m.)

Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton finished third at 7-4 and will meet the team that emerges from the fourth-place tiebreakers tonight.

"We'll go into tomorrow and play one game at a time just like we've been doing all week and play as well as we've been playing the past few games," said Hanna.

The Ontario team began the day with a convincing 8-5 victory over Alberta's Cathy King.

Now Hanna faces a tough task that will require her team to win five consecutive sudden-death games in order to win the national title.

But Hanna faced a somewhat similar situation at last month's Ontario championship at the Rideau when she won her last four games and got help from other teams to get a playoff spot.

Then she won a tiebreaker and three more games to capture the provincial crown and a trip to Newfoundland.

Asked if having gone down that road recently might work to her advantage, Hanna replied that it might.

"The only advantage would be that we know we can do it and it is possible," she said.

"A lot of people tend to look at it as, 'Oh my God, it's so many games,' but I look at it more as, 'Yeah, but we get to stay out on the ice and we get to keep throwing and we gain momentum as we go through that.

"Sitting and waiting can be a tough thing and I don't mind playing all those games."

She faces King this morning, less than 24 hours after beating her during yesterday's final day of the round-robin.

"They made a lot of great shots, and I expect it to be a last-rock game," said Hanna.

The Ottawa skip could have eliminated three teams from playoff contention by beating Nova Scotia, but gave them all, including four-time defending champ Jones new life.

"We're truly thankful for the second chance, and if you get a second chance, you should make the most of it," said Jones. "We don't mind playing three games."

Jones thanked Zinck, who lives in the same Halifax neighbourhood as the Canadian champ, for beating Hanna.

"We definitely owe them big," Jones said. "They came up with this huge, huge game."


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