She's right on the money

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

Last winter, Saskatchewan's Michelle Englot valiantly soldiered on after suddenly losing her father on the eve of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Regina.

The underrated Englot is now back on the ice to continue where she left off, proving she is still one of the top teams. Her revamped foursome surprised B.C.'s Kelly Scott 6-0 in six ends of the Manitoba Curling Tour's Casinos of Winnipeg Classic final at the Fort Rouge Curling Club last night.

"Yes, this is happier (circumstances)," said Englot, who earned $16,000. "We started a little slow. We struggled a little bit but, once we caught on to the ice, it started to come together for us."

Both Englot and Scott qualified though the C event.

"This means a lot to us because we've struggled to win a final over the past few years," said Englot, supported by new third Deanna Doig, second Roberta Materi and Cindy Simmons. "So, it feels really good to win a final, especially a (women's Grand Slam)."

It is the best Englot has ever done here and she picked up valuable CTRS points as she chases an Olympic trials qualifying spot.

"We're pretty close," Englot. "We're one of the top teams that hasn't qualified yet so that's big for us, too."

Scott settled for $11,000 after a gruelling semifinal and quarter-final.

"Certainly, we've had some intense games on the weekend, which always means you've had a good spiel getting in 10 games," said the transplanted Manitoban who drew to the button to eliminate Manitoba's reigning national junior champion Kaitlyn Lawes 6-5 in a semifinal. "With our backs against the wall right from Day No. 2, so to get to the final, that's pretty darn good for us -- even though the final game wasn't so sharp on our behalf."

The former women's world champ gave birth to a son, Nash MacKenzie, last summer.

"It did affect me," said Scott, 31. "You go through that experience and you're not sure what you're capable of after that. It'll come. I'm not where I want to be but certainly it's exciting."

Scott is just a major win short of qualifying for a direct path to the 2009 Canadian Curling Trials.

Lawes, who bounced Manitoba's Barb Spencer 6-2 in a quarter-finals, pocketed $6,500. Spencer won $4,200 while Manitoba's reigning world women's champ Jennifer Jones got $4,100 for qualifying.

Meanwhile, Ontario's Glenn Howard hammered Saskatchewan's Brad Heidt 9-1 in the final of the World/MCT's Meyers Norris Penny Classic in Portage la Prairie to win the event for the third straight year, earning $18,000. Heidt got $10,000.


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