3rd time a charm for N.W.T. skip Galusha at Scotties

Yellowknife's Kerry Galusha defeated New Brunswick to join the 12-team field at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

After 2 straight pre-qualfying defeats, Galusha stamps ticket for tournament

Kerry Galusha is emotional after joining the 12-team field at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Saturday. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

ST CATHARINES, ONT. — Kerry Galusha has played in a lot of big games over the years at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts but Saturday afternoon's win to clinch a berth in this year's championship in St. Catharines, Ont., seemed to carry a different level of importance.

The 39-year-old skip from Yellowknife was locked in a back-and-forth game with New Brunswick to determine what team would move on.

Galusha had to make a difficult last shot to secure a 5-3 victory.

"Losing the last two years, I was crying because we lost. This year I cried because we won," said Galusha. "I had to make a tough shot to win and my girls played amazing."

Wiping the tears from her face, shaking, her voice trembling, Galusha spoke to reporters after the win.

"It's been a cruel last couple years so this feels good to be on the other side of it."

It certainly has been a frustrating and complicated journey getting to this point for Galusha and her team out of the Yellowknife Curling Centre. They had lost in the previous two pre-qualifying finals.

No rest for Galusha and company

There's no time for Galusha and her rink to rest. They now enter the 12-team field and have 11 games ahead of them, having already played five to get to this point.

"I'm super relieved which is something our coach said we shouldn't feel because now we have to go out and play right away," said Galusha. "But I don't care, I feel so relieved right now. My girls played amazing. We hung in there after a struggle last night and I'm just so proud of my team right now."

Northwest Territories skip Kerry Galusha celebrates a win to defeat New Brunswick in pre-qualifiers during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines, Ont. on Saturday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

And perhaps Galusha should be breathing a big sigh of relief. This is the last year the somewhat controversial pre-qualifying event will take place. Next year, the format is being altered to include 16 teams from across the country.

"I know a lot of people hate it," said Galusha. "We've grown to deal with it. I see why it's in place. None of the three territories had to play off to get here so I see why they did. Next year will be interesting."

Galusha, third Meagan Koehler, second Danielle Derry, lead Sharon Cormier, alternate Shona Barbour and coach John Epping are now locked in for the rest of the week in St. Catharines.

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