Quebec's "rockstars" Team Laurie-St Georges (Photo: Curling Quebec) will be headed to their third consecutive national championship representing La Belle Province.
By: Cameron Sallaj
For the first time since 2020, the Quebec Scotties Tournament of Hearts was held this week at the Centre Sportif Mistouk d'Alma in Alma. The championship had been cancelled in both 2021 and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Curling Quebec appointing the Laurie St-Georges rink to represent the province in both years. At this year's national championship, Team St-Georges will be representing the province for the first time as provincial champions.
Through the six team round robin qualifying round of the event, Team St-Georges, consisting of Laurie St-Georges, Emily Riley, Alanna Routledge, Kelly Middaugh, and Emilie Desjardins, finished in a three-way tie for first place with a 4-1 record. They shared this record with Teams Lauren Horton and Noemie Verrault, however, due to the draw-to-the-button tiebreaker, Team Horton got the direct bye to the championship game. This meant St-Georges and Verrault would have to play in the semifinal to see who would advance to the provincial final.
In Friday night's semifinal matchup, Team St-Georges broke a tight 1-1 scoreline with a deuce in the fourth end and a steal of three in the fifth to take a five-point lead. Things were far from over, however, as after a single in the sixth, Team Verrault stole a deuce in the seventh end to tighten the score 6-4. They cut into the lead once again with a deuce in the ninth after a single by St-Georges in eight. Headed to the tenth, Team St-Georges led 7-6 with last stone advantage.
The "rockstars" were able to count one in the tenth and final end to secure an 8-6 victory and qualify for Saturday's championship game where they took on Team Lauren Horton.
The first point of the final game was put on the board in the fourth end with a steal by the St-Georges rink. Horton blanked again in the fifth before finally scoring in the sixth, being forced to one. The teams then traded singles through the remaining four ends, meaning the score was level at 3-3 after ten.
In the extra end, Laurie St-Georges and her team were able to count one to win the game 4-3 and win their first Quebec Scotties Tournament of Hearts title.
The 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts will be St-Georges' third consecutive trip to the national women's curling championship. In 2021, she skipped her team to a 6-6 seventh place finish after initially going 6-2 in their pool. They were not as successful in 2022, however, finishing 3-5.
The teams third, Emily Riley, is a longtime front-end member of the St-Georges rink and was on the team during both of their Scotties appearances. Their second, Alanna Routledge, joined the team as their alternate at the 2022 national championship before replacing Hailey Armstrong at the third position for the 2022-23 season. Their lead Kelly Middaugh and alternate Emilie Desjardins are new additions to the squad.
The 2023 national championship will be held from February 17 to 26 at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, British Columbia. There will be eighteen teams in the field all competing for the national title. The winners will represent Canada at the 2023 World Women's Curling Championship at the Goransson Arena in Sanviken, Sweden from March 18 to 26.
Team St-Georges finished 4-1 through the six-team qualifying round of the 2023 Quebec Scotties Tournament of Hearts. In their opening game, they won 8-2 over Team Isabelle Neron (Saguenay, QC) and then won 8-4 over Team Dominique Jean (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC). After dropping their third game 7-6 to Team Noemie Verrault (Quebec, QC), they respond with a 4-2 win over Team Lauren Horton (Montreal, QC) before closing out the round robin with a 7-2 win over Team Roxane Peron (Montreal, QC).
Watch the replay of the Quebec Scotties final between Horton and St-Georges: