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Team Arsenault brings back bronze

Liverpool native pleased with performance at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

LIVERPOOL – When Mary-Anne Arsenault, Christina Black, Jennifer Baxter and Jennifer Crouse stepped off their plane in Halifax Feb. 5, they did so as Canadian bronze medalists following the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C. Jan. 27-Feb. 4.
It was a far cry from the Liverpool Curling Club, where Crouse – a Queens County native – got her start with the sport as a child.
This year’s Tournament of Hearts included 16 teams.
“There were two pools of eight, and you played the first seven games, and then the top four of each pool went on to a championship round, and then the championship round is eight down to four,” explained Crouse.
Crouse says she and her teammates believed they were in the tougher pool based on the teams’ experience and the skips.
Arsenault, the skip, is a Canadian and world champion. Black – who is originally from Sydney, Cape Breton – was competing in her second Tournament of Hearts, while Baxter, from Halifax, had made a third trip to the curling tournament.
“Our first three games were really tough games,” she said. “We basically had three of the top teams in Canada right now.”
Team Arsenault was hoping to be 2-1 after the first three games. Instead, the team was 1-2.
Crouse said the team didn’t play very well in the first three games. After that, the women turned things around, winning the next four games.
“So we finished five and two, which was good enough to be third out of our pool,” said Crouse. “And then, in the championship pool, we actually went undefeated, so we went 4-0.”
That put Team Arsenault in a three-way tie for first place between the top two teams – Jennifer Jones’ team from Winnipeg and Kerri Einarson’s from the East St. Paul Curling Club in Winnipeg.
“But they ended up being seated above us then in the Page playoffs because we had lost to both of those teams,” said Crouse.
That brought the team forward to the third- and fourth- placed game.
In a Page playoff system, the top ranked team plays the number two, and the winner of that goes to the final. Third place plays fourth, and the winner of that plays the loser of the one-two game.
“So we won the three-four game, so we got to the semifinal, and we played OK,” said Crouse. “The ice changed a bit on us.”
Crouse says the team has lots to be proud of and is happy. Despite not winning, the Dartmouth-based team is proud of its accomplishments.
And they’re not the only ones who are proud. Crouse says the team got lots of messages, and Twitter and Facebook posts throughout the tournament. The Dartmouth Curling Club also came out to the airport to greet them as they returned home.
Except for Wednesday night league play, Team Arsenault is finished for the season. At some point, the team will sit down and discuss what the plan is for next season.
“Finishing third should help us get some invites into some higher events next year, which would be excellent,” said Crouse.

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