Host-province favourite Ontario exploded

Host-province favourite Ontario exploded from the starting gate at the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Saturday afternoon. Krista McCarville’s Thunder Bay team stole points at will (six in all) and pummelled New Brunswick’s Andrea Kelly of Fredericton 9-2. McCarville won 11 straight at the start of the month to win the Ontario title after finishing third at the Tim Hortons Olympic Trials at Edmonton in December. “It was a nice way to get it going,” said McCarville, who added she’s never entered a Scotties feeling more confident in herself and her team. This is McCarville’s fourth Ontario representation in five years. “It’s nice, too, because she (Kelly) beat us last year. So we got a little revenge there.” The game’s turning point was the sixth end when Kelly, trailing 4-1, needed to avoid a guard and erase McCarville’s lone rock in the rings for a tying three-count. McCarville had partially buried her last stone, then watched Kelly’s last wreck on the front stone. Elsewhere on the tournament’s opening draw, Prince Edward Island upended Saskatchewan 10-3, Newfoundland/Labrador clobbered the Territories 12-2 and Quebec stole two in an extra end to polish off Nova Scotia 8-6. The Islanders, taking a page from the book of the 2006 Canadian Olympic team skipped by Russ Howard with Brad Gushue throwing the last bricks, stole nine points against Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland of Kronau who had won the Ford Hot Shots skills competition earlier in the day. “I’d trade the car for the win,” said Holland. “We forgot how to curl. They came out strong, we didn’t, hence the result.” Veteran Kathy O’Rourke skips the Island team and throws second stones with junior grads Erin Carmody and Geri-Lynn Ramsay throwing skip and third rocks respectively. “We knew that would be a tough game but we bore down and concentrated,” said O’Rourke. She said the young players on the back end “are very good shooters” and lifting the responsibility of skipping from the 21-year-old Carmody in her first Scotties, “I think will be very helpful”. “She doesn’t have to worry about whether or not she has taken the right ice, she just has to go down and execute,” said O’Rourke. “And the combination has worked well so far.” The squad from The Rock had an easy time of it with an ice cold group of Polars skipped by Sharon Cormier of Yellowknife. “My girls played so well today and it made my job so easy,” said St. John’s skip Shelley Nichols. “Tell you what. This means we won’t be going 0-and-11 and I’m excited about that.” Quebec trailed Nancy McConnery’s Bluenosers all the way until two precise shots from skip Eve Belisle squared the account in in the 10th end. The jig was up when McConnery missed her last shot of the 11th end. “They were above us all game so we were lucky,” said a relieved Belisle. “But she had a tough shot in the extra end and I think we played well there.”