Cheryl Bernard was out to steal the show last night at the 2009 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
But she came up one rock short, losing in an extra end to Ontario to halt Alberta's run at the Canadian women's curling championship in Victoria.
Bernard and her Calgary rink lost 6-5 to Krista McCarville and Ontario despite a valiant comeback attempt in a game they trailed throughout.
The Alberta foursome stole one in each of the ninth and 10 ends to force the extra frame. But McCarville froze to Alberta's shot-rock in the four-foot with the hammer to count one, win the game and oust Bernard and Co. from the championship.
While Alberta is done, five teams are still alive at the Scotties -- and the defending champions are one of them.
Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones earned a 6-5 win over B.C.'s Marla Mallett in Draw 17, giving Team Canada a spot in today's tiebreaker. The Jones foursome (7-4) will face P.E.I.'s Rebecca Jean MacPhee (7-4) today (TSN, 2 p.m.) in a Draw 15 rematch, won 8-7 yesterday by MacPhee.
It's familiar territory for Jones, who began last year's Scotties at 3-4 before reeling off eight straight victories to win the championship.
"We're still alive, and that's all you can ask for," Jones said. "We have to play as good as we can (against P.E.I.), and hopefully that's good enough to keep going."
Mallett finished the roundrobin with a record of 8-3 and will face Quebec's Marie-France Larouche in the 1-vs.-2 Page Playoff game tonight (TSN, 7:30 p.m). The winner advances to Sunday's final (TSN, 6 p.m.), while the loser plays in tomorrow's semifinal (TSN, 5 p.m.).
"There's certainly some things we need to improve on," Mallett said.
Larouche (7-4) was thought to be out of it after a pair of one-sided losses Wednesday but stormed back to win both her games yesterday.
Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton (7-4) finished third and will face the winner of the Canada-P.E.I. game tomorrow (TSN, 12:30 p.m.) in the 3-versus-4 Page playoff game.
The winner of that game will advance to the semifinal.
Lawton joined the playoff picture with a 7-5 win over Manitoba's Barb Spencer, capping an amazing turnaround for the 28-year-old native of Prince Albert.
Lawton began the week 0-3 but reeled off six straight victories before losing 7-5 to Larouche in Draw 16.
"We definitely talked about (the slow start)," Lawton said. "We just had to encourage ourselves and remind ourselves that we weren't playing badly."