The confusion at the head of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts pack intensified Wednesday afternoon when Ontario’s Krista McCarville lost her second straight match and Prince Edward Island’s Kathy O’Rourke pulled back into share of the lead.
The Islanders and defending champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg have their noses ahead of Ontario with a collision imminent atg the Essar Centre today at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The winner will take the lead in the race which heads for the wire with a final two-game day on Thursday.
O’Rourke, with 21-year-old Erin Carmody on last rocks, rebounded from a Tuesday night loss to Ontario and dropped Quebec’s Eve Belisle of Montreeal 7-3 during the 13th draw.
McCarville, meanwhile, was stunned 7-5 by the North West Territories entry skipped by Sharon Cormier of Yellowknife.
“We don’t have a lot of time to think about our opponent tonight,” said O’Rourke, “and, in this case, that’s probably a good thing.
“We had a team meeting this morning after last night’s loss and we analyzed the situation,” said the veteran skip who throws second rocks. “We decided, why don’t we just go out and shoot one rock at a time and not worry about anything else? When you do that it’s amazing what happens.”
The Island team engineered a fourth-end deuce for a two-point lead and then stole a pair of singles to ease away from Quebec (4-and-5).
O’Rourke admitted her batting order, which features 41-year-olds on the back end, might have been over-awed by Ontario and the danger remained with Jones lurking in the wings.
“I think there was a little bit of that going on last night against Ontario,” said O’Rourke. “Hopefully we learned something from that loss and focus and make shots and keep the result out of our minds. We had a lot of questions running through our minds in that game and that can’t happen.”
McCarville, who lost her morning assignment 10-5 to Jill Thurston of Winnipeg, opened with two against the Polars but gave the pair right back in the second end and then yielded stolen singles in the third and fifth ends. Once in the lead, Cormier was like a lion stalking easy prey.
“We just try to relax and have fun out there,” said the rookie Territories skip. “It doesn’t much matter who we play. We looked over the remaining games and decided we could make this interesting.”
And the great northerners did, in spades.
“They made everything,”said McCarville. “Draws, hits, they’re a tough team.
“We just didn’t have a good day. We have to put it aside and regroup for the last day. We’re still in control of our own destiny. We’ll meet and talk about today and try to fix it.”
Elsewhere, Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland (5-and-4) remained in the hunt with her second win of the day, a 5-2 decision over Nancy McConnery of Nova Scotia (1-and-7). Shelley Nichols of St. John’s (4-and-5) directed her Newfoundland/Labrador unit to a 9-7 win over Andrea Kelly’s New Brunswickers (3-and-5).
In other games later today, New Brunswick plays Alberta (3-and-5), the Polars face Manitoba and Kelly Scott of British Columbia (4-and-4) plays Nova Scotia.