As Jennifer Jones was leaving the ice at Essar Centre Tuesday afternoon, she spotted a pair of young fans waving and shouting encouragement from the stands.
Jogging over and jumping up to high-five the youngsters, the Team Canada skip was greeted by giggles and wide smiles.
Jones was smiling, too, after bouncing back from Monday’s back-to-back losses with wins over Alberta and British Columbia, which gave the two-time defending champion a 5-2 record after four days of play at the national women’s curling championship.
Canada is tied with Prince Edward Island’s Kathy O’Rourke for second in the round-robin standings, one game behind Ontario’s Krista McCarville (6-1).
“Yeah, we were a little better,” Jones said. “We’re still not as good as we’d like to be, but we played a couple of very good teams.”
After beating Alberta’s Valerie Sweeting 9-7 in the morning draw, Jones capped the day with a 10-7 win over one of her top rivals, B.C.’s Kelly Scott.
“We’re not on a roll yet, no,” Jones said. “We want to get on a roll in the playoffs.
“We still missed some shots that we’d like to get back.”
Against B.C., Team Canada second Jill Officer set up a big four points in the second round.
She went on to make 96 per cent of her shots in the game.
Scott’s steal of two in the fourth end and counted another in the six top cut Jones’ lead to 6-5, but the two-time defending champion counted two more in the seventh and another in the eighth.
Scott counted two of her own in the ninth to make it 9-7, but that was as close as she came.
“We had to hit some finesse shots, and the ice was the straightest it has been,” said Scott, who was briefly a teammate of Jones as a junior.
“It got kind of sludgy at the end. We had to make some tough shots on some tough ice out there.”
Scott fell to 4-3 and sits in a three-way tie for third place, with Quebec’s Eve Belisle and Manitoba’s Jill Thurston, heading into the fifth day of the tournament.
New Brunswick’s Andrea Kelly, Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland and Alberta’s Valerie Sweeting are 3-4.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Shelley Nichols and Northwest Territories-Yukon’s Sharon Cormier are 2-5, while Nova Scotia’s Nancy McConnery is 1-6.
“We’re happy,” Jones said. “This is a pretty good spot for us.”
Today’s action begins with Draw 12, at 10:30 a.m., when Saskatchewan plays B.C., Quebec plays Team Canada, Newfoundland plays Alberta and Ontario plays Manitoba.
In Draw 13, at 2 p.m., it’s New Brunswick against Newfoundland, the Territories against Ontario, Nova Scotia against Saskatchewan and P.E.I. against Quebec.
Draw 14, at 6:30 p.m., matches Team Canada with P.E.I., Nova Scotia with B.C., Manitoba with the Territories and Alberta with New Brunswick.