Team B.C. is taking their role as the underdog and embracing it as they continue to navigate through the new playoff format at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Related: Video: Team B.C. Scotties curling fans enjoying the ride in Penticton
“I definitely think we are seen as the underdog because we don’t play on the big slam circuit. We don’t get a lot of experience playing in events like this just because we are from B.C. It’s a long way to travel for any of those,” said Kesa Van Osch. “So yeah, we are probably seen as the underdog, and I definitely feel like the underdog sometimes because we aren’t experienced.”
B.C. sealed their trip to the Championship Pool on Wednesday with a win over Newfoundland/Labrador.
Related: Team B.C. advances to Scotties Tournament of Hearts Championship Pool
While Van Osch said the team set the goal of making it to the Championship Pool and haven’t thought too far ahead of themselves, she lights up at the thought of being under the bright lights as one of the last two teams standing on Sunday.
“Oh it would be awesome. It is what you dream about as a kid and we would love to get into that playoff round. It would be fantastic,” said Van Osch.
They joined Team Canada, Team Alberta and Ontario, who won a tie-breaker, to make up the four who move on in Pool B. In Pool A it was Team Manitoba, the Wild Card team, Nova Scotia and Northern Ontario.
Team B.C. lost both games yesterday in the Championship Pool play. They had a close game against the Wild Card team, losing 6-5. The 7 p.m. draw saw Team Manitoba, skipped by Jennifer Jones, take down B.C. 10-3.
Related: Wild Card team sits atop Championship Pool
With the revamped format for the Scotties this year, that means Ontario will play five games in two days.
“It’s going to be a long one, but we are going to be going on some adrenaline, we are just really happy to have made it through,” said Ontario skip Hollie Duncan, who is at her first Scotties.
The revamped format saw 16 teams enter, then paired down to eight for the Championship Pool to determine the final four playoff teams. Round-robin play began on Thursday afternoon and the teams carry over their records from the preliminary pools. Almost like a re-start, kind of.
“With our record, we will probably have to run the table or at least go 3-1. It would be nice if it started over because our record isn’t as great as other people’s,” said Duncan.
After those Championship Pool games are finished, the top four teams will go into the Page Playoffs which start on Saturday (a tiebreaker, if necessary would be on Saturday morning).
Duncan said, as the skip of the team, it can be tough to play so many games in a short time period.
“I think for me, as the skip, it is because I don’t sweep. So physically it is not that tough but it can be mentally and emotionally tiring,” said Duncan.
However, she sees the advantages and disadvantages of this new Scotties format.
“I’m not sure about it yet. … You get to have all the provinces and territories represented this way but if you are out early it sucks to be done your week (on Thursday). We had to prepare like we were playing the whole time and make sure we had enough broom heads, snacks and things like that.”
Team Canada’s Michelle Englot said it can help a team gain some steam as they play through the week.
“The format actually works well for building that momentum to the championship round and there will be a lot of great games coming up,” said Englot.
The Page 3-4 playoff is on Saturday at 2 p.m. and the Page 1-2 playoff is at 7 p.m. The semifinal in on Sunday at 9 a.m. and the old medal game will take at 4 p.m. The bronze-medal game has been removed from the new format.
You can purchase tickets for the remainder of the games at the South Okanagan Events Centre box office, online at curling.ca/tickets or by phone at 1-877-763-2849.