Kleibrink earns bye to Scotties final game

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

REGINA -- All week, this version of the Scotties was a two-team race.

Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink and Ontario's Sherry Middaugh were neck-in-neck and finished one-two at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Those teams faced off last night in the Page playoff game, with Kleibrink winning 8-7 in an extra end to advance to tomorrow's final (10:30 a.m., CBC).

Suddenly, a Tasmanian Devil named Jones has whirled into the picture.

Given up for dead on Tuesday, Manitoba's Jennifer Jones has suddenly made everyone sit up and pay attention as the playoffs started here yesterday.

Jones won four straight games to salvage her week, then sneaked into a tie-breaker against Newfoundland's Heather Strong.

Jones bounced Strong 6-3 at the Brandt Centre in the morning, then eliminated Quebec's third-place Marie-France Larouche 6-5 in the Page playoff three-four game.

Jones will now play Middaugh today (9:30 a.m., CBC), with the winner facing the red-hot Kleibrink.

Kleibrink will get both the hammer and rock choice.

"Being in the final doesn't mean anything unless you win it," Kleibrink said.

Jones will be riding a six-game winning streak into the playoff, while Middaugh will be coming off the disappointment of losing the one-two game.

"We know they're (Manitoba) going to be on a high because they had a great day (yesterday)," Middaugh said. "But I'm tougher mentally now with more experience and we've just got to win one more game to get into the final."

But that goes for Jones, too.

"It's good if people had written us off," said Manitoba second Jill Officer. "People can think whatever they want to think and we're just going to go out there and play our game (today)."

Jones did, however, get a break in the sixth end when Larouche ticked a guard while attempting a double for three. That allowed Jones to steal two for a two for a 5-2 lead -- a five-point turnaround.

"That was a tough double for three," Jones said.

"It wasn't a gimmee. But it's always a break when somebody ticks the guard.

"Against us in the round-robin, they cleared every guard by a millimetre so we thought eventually, they'd have to tick on a couple.

"So, we got a couple of ticks that came our way."


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