The reigning Scotties bronze medalists (Photo: Team Kelly) are headed back to the national championship after a dominant performance at the provincial championship.
By: Cameron Sallaj
New Brunswick held their Scotties Tournament of Hearts playdowns for the first time since 2020 at the Capital Winter Club in Fredericton. Seven teams competed in a round robin preliminary round that qualified three teams for the playoffs.
At the end of the round robin, the reigning Scotties bronze medalists Team Andrea Kelly sat on top with a perfect 6-0 record and a total points for/points against ratio of 58-11. This qualified Kelly and her team of Sylvie Quillian, Jill Brothers, Katie Forward, and coach Daryell Nowlan directly to the provincial final.
Behind them were Oromocto's Team Abby Burgess who beat the rest of the teams in the field besides Kelly, qualifying for the semifinal. Third place was a tie between Moncton's Shaelyn Park and Fredericton's Jaclyn Crandall. In Saturday afternoon's tiebreaker, Park knocked off Crandall 8-6 to advance to the semifinal against Burgess.
The Burgess rink of Abby Burgess, Brooke Tracy, Tyler Parmiter, Taryn Abernethy, and Katherine Sterling got out to a quick 6-0 lead in the semifinal. The game was far from over, however, as Curl Moncton's Team Park, which captured the 2021 Canadian Curling Club Championships in November, tied the game up at six-all after seven ends. Abby Burgess was able to stop the bleeding with a deuce in the eighth end and a steal in the ninth, eventually running the Park rink out of rocks to pick up the 9-6 win.
Sunday's provincial final saw Team Kelly begin the scoring with a deuce in the opening end. Team Burgess was able to get a single back in the second, but Andrea Kelly was able to count three for her rink in the third to open up an early 5-1 lead.
Facing four in the fourth end, Abby Burgess made a nice draw to the four-foot to limit Team Kelly to just a steal of two, however, still trailed by a score of 7-1. Team Burgess was able to pick up their first multiple point score with a deuce in the fifth end to cut into Team Kelly's lead 7-3.
After trading singles through the sixth and seventh ends, Team Burgess narrowed the gap once again with a steal of one in the eighth end, making the score only 8-5.
In the ninth, Andrea Kelly secured the victory for her Oromocto-based squad with a draw to the four-foot to count two more points. Team Burgess conceded with the final score of the game at 10-5.
Kelly's win on Sunday marked her tenth time winning the New Brunswick Scotties Tournament of Hearts title. It will be her eleventh trip to the Tournament of Hearts though, as in 2022, her rink was appointed to represent New Brunswick following the cancellation of the provincial playdowns. For third Sylvie Quillian and second Jill Brothers, it will be their sixth trips to the Scotties while for lead Katie Forward, it will be her fifth.
At the 2022 national championship in Thunder Bay, Team Kelly made history for New Brunswick, winning the provinces first Scotties medal since Heidi Hanlon in 1991. After a 6-2 round robin record, the team knocked off the Northwest Territories' Kerry Galusha in the qualification game and then beat Team Canada's Kerri Einarson to reach the 1 vs. 2 page playoff. They then lost 9-8 to Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville and 8-4 to Einarson in the semifinal, settling for third.
The team will be looking to move up the podium this year and win New Brunswick's second Scotties title. The provinces sole championship comes from Mabel DeWare back in 1963.
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 Kelly finished 6-0 through the seven-team qualifying round of the 2023 New Brunswick Scotties Tournament of Hearts. In their opening game, they won 11-1 over Team Shaelyn Park (Moncton, NB) and then won 9-0 over Team Shelly Graham (Fredericton, NB). After defeating Team Abby Burgess (Oromocto, NB) 10-5, they won 9-2 over Team Sarah Gaines (Oromocto, NB). To close out the round robin, Team Kelly downed Team Samantha Crook (Oromocto, NB) 13-1 before winning 6-2 over Team Jaclyn Crandall (Fredericton, NB) in their final qualifying game.
Watch the replay of the New Brunswick Scotties final between Kelly and Burgess: