CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The promise of a three-game win streak was erased by a Thursday to forget for Shannon Kleibrink’s Alberta foursome at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Kleibrink dropped games to playoff-hungry Nova Scotia, 8-7, and to Team Canada, 8-5, to close out the roundrobin with a 6-5 mark, ending her fourth Hearts the same way as the previous three — without that elusive national title.
“There were some games earlier in the week we wanted back, too,” Kleibrink said, suggesting even if her team had snuck into a tiebreaker on the final day, it wouldn’t have lasted long. “We probably weren’t going to get past the next team if we didn’t pick it up.”
Kleibrink pointed to close losses to Ontario, Saskatchewan and, especially, PEI on Tuesday as her team’s downfall.
“You need some breaks sometimes, and we didn’t get any,” Kleibrink said. “We played PEI, and they played amazing. I’m a real stats watcher, and at least six of the teams had their best games against us. But that’s partly because we weren’t playing well, and their shots were easier.”
After an uneven, 3-3 start, Kleibrink, along with third Amy Nixon, second Bronwen Webster and lead Chelsey Bell, made midweek noise with victories over Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick, all teams that missed the playoffs.
Against teams that are still alive, Alberta went 1-4, defeating only B.C.’s Kelly Scott.
Against Canada’s Jennifer Jones, Kleibrink herself shot just 53%.
And the skip had troubles finding her draw weight and usual superb shotmaking skills in the concluding draw.
“It was gradual,” Nixon said of the Calgary Winter Club rink’s demise. “Every game we lost, except for this (last) one, was on last rock. It was a battle every game. It was very mentally tough.”
But Kleibrink says they’ll regroup and be back.
At least missing the playoffs isn’t as painful as what happened against Jones in 2008.
“The most upsetting was probably losing the final,” Kleibrink said. “If you’re destined to lose, it’s probably better to lose now and you can go have some fun in PEI.”