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Quebec rookies led by Laurie St-Georges hit their stride at Scotties

Quebec’s rookie team at the Canadian women’s curling championship injected intrigue into its pool Monday.

Laurie St-Georges handed Wild Card One its first loss. Quebec pulled the foursome skipped by Chelsea Carey back into the pack with an 8-7 win, which put both teams at 3-1.

Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt also won Monday to join them in a three-way tie atop Pool B.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is running in a spectator-free, controlled environment to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

St-George and her front end of Emily Riley and sister Cynthia St-George are just two years removed from the junior ranks.

They along with vice Hailey Armstrong are taking an unusual Hearts debut in stride.

“We made our goal, honestly, to have fun and make good shots,” Armstrong said. “We want to work well together at our first Scotties and enjoy the experience.”

The top four teams in each pool of nine move on to the championship round beginning Friday and carry their records with them.

The top three from the championship round will be Sunday’s playoff teams, with the No. 1 seed earning a bye to the final.

After losing to six-time champion Jennifer Jones of Manitoba in their first ever match at the Hearts, Quebec has strung together three consecutive wins.

“We’re just having fun and we’re living in the moment,” Armstrong said. “We’re just breathing between every shot and just working as a team.”

The lone Quebec team to win a national women’s curling championship was Lee Tobin’s in 1975.

Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson also contributed to Pool B’s drama by edging Jones 5-4 on Monday.

Manitoba was 2-2, while Saskatchewan pulled even with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Sarah Hill at 2-1.

“To come out after three games two and one, I’m OK with that,” said Anderson.

Birt recovered from giving up a steal of two in the 10th to St-Georges the previous evening to down Newfoundland’s Hill 12-8.

“We regrouped after last night,” Birt stated. “It’s a heartbreaking moment when you lose a game that way, but you also learn so many things from it.”

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