It will be yet another curling winter waiting for a team to amass an undefeated record at the Scotties Tournament Of Hearts. That fact was assured on Monday afternoon.
For the second straight year, the Territories entry upended defending champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, thus ending her unbeaten skein at three games on the afternoon draw.
Earlier, Krista McCarville’s Ontario champ was beaten for the first time in four games when Amber Holland of Saskatchewan executed a last-rock double-raise takeout for a hard-fought 7-6 victory.
Jones, who returns to Essar Centre ice at 7:30 p.m. ET against Shelley Nichols of Newfoundland/Labrador, suffered her second of four losses a year ago gto Kathy Galusha’s Yellowknife team. This year, the Yellowknifers are skipped by Sharon Cormier who was Galusha’s fifth player at Victoria. And while Cormier’s batting order is less experienced, it ruled the roost with a 10-4 spanking that was launched with four in the third end for a 5-1 lead. The Polars threw up an immaculate defence thereafter and never gave up as much as a deuce.
“I saw how we did it last year,” admitted Cormier, “but we had no particular game plan for them. We just wanted to play our game which is pretty aggressive and get some breaks. We did, got the breaks, they missed a few and that’s how it added up.
“Now we just have to keep doing what we’re doing if we want to improve our record.”
Cormier is the daughter of veteran Yellowknife skip Al Delmage who represented the Territories in five Briers during the Eighties.
The last team to run the gauntlet without a loss was skipped by Linda Moore of West Vancouver in 1965. That squad went on to win a world championship in Sweden and the gold medal when curling was a demo sport at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary.
In another afternoon contests, Kathy Rourke’s P.E. Islanders with young Erin Carmody issuing last rocks survived a tight-fit with three in the last end that required a measure for a 7-6 win over Jill Thurston of Winnipeg.
The win for O’Rourke vaulted her team into first place with a 4-and-1 record. Jones fell to 3-and-1 along with McCarville, Alberta’s Valerie Sweeting of Edmonton and British Columbia’s former world champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna.
“Pretty impressive for little old P.E.I., eh?” queried O’Rourke.
“It feels pretty good. We wanted to be a little more precise today and when Geri-Lynn (third Ramsay) made that corker to set up the last-end three, it was great.”
Each team traded thefts of two in the late going before the pesky Islanders cracked their climactic trio.
Scott stole three in the second end for a 4-0 lead and cruised Andrea Kelly of Fredericton 8-3 while Sweeting out-manouevred winless Nancy McConnery of Nova Scotia 8-5 in other games.
McCarville’s loss halted a winning streak at 14 games; the Thunder Bay quartet, which includes Tara George, Ashley Miharija and Kari MacLean, had streaked through Ontario’s provincial championship tournament with a perfect 11-0 record.
Elsewhere in Monday’s final round at 7:30 p.,m. ET, Ontario will play British Columbia in a key battle while Alberta faces Quebec and Manitoba goes against Saskatchewan.