THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Tracy Fleury is used to hearing Northern Ontario moose calls just not often as the enemy.
The Sudbury native Fleury now skips a squad one province to the west based in East St. Paul, Man., and took on the hometown heroes Team Krista McCarville during the ninth round-robin draw of the Tour Challenge.
Fleury has had several battles with McCarville in the past during provincial playdowns and was victorious 5-3 in their meeting Thursday night at the sold-out Tournament Centre.
“We have a lot of history against them,” Fleury said. “It’s usually a tight battle and they played really well. It was a great game.”
She added: “The crowd was definitely rooting for McCarville, to be expected, but it’s still nice to get to play in my home province, in Northern Ontario.”
Team Fleury, which also features third Selena Njegovan, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish, continued their solid start to climb to a 3-0 record and clinch a playoff spot with one group game remaining Friday against Winnipeg’s Team Darcy Robertson.
“It feels great,” Fleury said. “Just had a better start than the last Slam where we started 0-2 and had to kind of claw our way back, so this is definitely more comfortable and we’re happy with our position right now.”
Njegovan, Fyfe and MacCuish previously played with Kerri Einarson, winning two Tour Challenge Tier 2 titles and the Boost National, and stuck together following the flurry of team changes over the off-season bringing in their Sudbury skip and appear to be meshing just fine.
“The girls are really easy to get along with, so they’ve really welcomed me to the team,” Fleury said. “It’s going well so far.”
The Tour Challenge is the third event of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season and features the largest field in the series with 60 teams split into two tiers of action. Tier 1 includes 15 of the top men’s teams and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world. Both Tier 2 divisions are composed of the next 10 teams ranked on the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit plus five teams from within the event’s region.
Fleury has been crossing the hallway over to the Tier 2 side as her former teammates Jenna Enge and Amanda Gates are competing in the women’s division while her brothers, Tanner and Jacob Horgan, are in action in the men’s division.
“It’s a lot of fun to have family here and I try to sneak over there and watch a little bit when I can,” Fleury said.
Fleury stole one to start as McCarville looked to draw but it was double trouble as her rock was light and over-curled landing above the counter.
It was a lucky break for Fleury in the second. She chipped off a guard and redirected in to rub off another stone in the four-foot circle to lie shot rock that turned into another steal as McCarville wrecked on a …read more