Kleibrink ready to bring her A-Game

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:41 PM ET

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. -- After a shaky start, Olympic medalist Shannon Kleibrink is making some noise at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Kleibrink won two more games, Wednesday, her third and fourth in a row, to climb back into the thick of the playoff chase.

"It feels like we can make anything," Kleibrink said after breezing past Quebec, 9-4, and New Brunswick, 7-3, erasing the memory of earlier back-to-back losses and improving to 6-3. "But we know we're going to be there at the end if we play like we can. (And) we are."

Kleibrink, Olympic bronze medalist in 2006, is part of a furious battle for the last one or two spots, along with fading Ontario, surging Nova Scotia and still-alive B.C., not to mention Team Canada, which could still be caught.

A head-to-head matchup with Jennifer Jones' three-time defending champion looms large, Thursday night.

"They're going to be solid," Kleibrink said. "We're going to have to bring our A-game, for sure. We know they'll be aggressive, and so will we."

First, though, an equally important game Thursday morning game against Nova Scotia's Heather Smith-Dacey, who's been hanging around Kleibrink's neighbourhood all week.

"We play Canada and Alberta, so we can still get into the 1-2 game," Smith-Dacey said, resetting her sights after knocking off previously unbeaten Saskatchewan, Wednesday. "We're not even thinking that fourth playoff spot. We're thinking, keep playing like that. It's anybody's game right now. It's still up for grabs with that second spot."

With just one day left in the round robin, it's time for the scoreboard watching to begin.

"I try to avoid that stuff as much as I can," Alberta third Amy Nixon said. "But I have a skip who'll just look at her BlackBerry or her I-Phone or whatever it is, until the cows come... she's just a crazy analytical woman and she drives me nuts sometimes."

- Paul Friesen


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