Big six ruins Polars’ big day

A decidedly unfunny thing happened to the Polars in the second end of Saturday night’s second Scotties round at the Enmax Centrium. Prince Edward Island’s wiley Kim Dolan cracked a six-ender to spoil the ultimate party and post an eventual 9-5 decision.

Kim Dolan watches the rock at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Photo by Andrew Klaver)

“We had three goals today,” Galusha said just prior to dinner time. “Oh well, we got the first two.” Galusha won the Ford Hot Shots skills competiton around lunch time, then proceeded to defeat Heather Nedohin of Edmonton 8-7 in an afternoon extra end. “To beat a team like that and win a car? Yes, that still was the biggest day,” said Galusha. “But we had some issues with team dynamics tonight. Megan (lead Cormier) was sick all night and she stayed in bed all day but wanted to play tonight. “It wasn’t the best decision. She had to go out after four ends. “We just weren’t the same team we were in the first game. And, yet, if we don’t give up the six it would have been different.” Dolan hit for the biggie after a blank first end. Polar third Sharon Cormier missed both her shots and Galusha followed suit. “We hadn’t been like that all day,” moaned the Yellowknife skip.(Continued Below…) Draw 2 Photos
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The Island skip chuckled when told she’d ruined the day’s best story. “I’m sorry to do that but that six-ender is hard to defend,” she said. “It was great to get it in one way but no so good in another. “She (Galusha) had draw weight for the rest of the game. If she’d put hers in there with all those stones in the second end I’d never have gotten it out. It was just unfortunate that she didn’t have draw weight then and I was lucky to get it. “We’re really happy with 1-and-1 and we’ll go from there.” The Polars battled back with a couple of deuces to reduce the deficit after five ends but were outscored 2-1 over the remainder. Defending champion Amber Holland, defending champion Jennifer Jones, two-time champion Kelly Scott, Saskatchewan’s Michelle Englot and Ontario rookie Tracy Horgan each won once Saturday to maintain undefeated marks. On the late shift, Jones of Winnipeg easily cruised past Rebecca Atkinson of New Brunswick 7-3 while Englot took advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy 51-per-cent shooting performance from Heather Smith-Dacey of Nova Scotia to rack up a 7-5 win. “It’s nice to win one like that and hopefully we can build on that momentum,” said Englot who trailed 5-2 after six ends but posted a deuce in the seventh and stole singles in the eighth, ninth and 10th ends when Smith-Dacey was guilty of over-throwing peels and then a final takeout through a port. “She had an easy opening at the end but it wasn’t an easy shot,” said Englot. “We’ll take it. That’s the character of our team. We’ve been doing that all year. We never give up. We always battle back. We need to keep playing that way throughout the week.” Along with Dolan and Galusha, Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche evened her record at 1-1 with a last-rock 7-5 conquest of Newfoundland’s Heather Strong (0-2). Earlier, Holland dumped Strong 7-4 on the strength of an eighth-end steal of three, Scott scored in an extra end to nudge Larouche 7-6 and Horgan stole a 7-6 extra-end victory over Dolan. “We have our first win and that’s what we wanted,” said the Quebec skip who finished second in this tournament the last time it was played at the Centrium . . . in 2004. “We could have won both. If my last rock in the extra end against Kelly (B.C.) curls just a touch more she doesn’t have a shot. We know all the teams are so close, we have to be very good each game. Every one is a final game. You have to be very good each game here.” Said Scott of that extra exchange: “My last rock just curled up at the end to roll in for shot. Halfway down I wasn’t sure. If I nosed it we didn’t have shot rock. “We had to work and dig. Every time we got ahead they’d counter right back. They were never out of it and we were never in the clear.” Scott knows only too well the importance of a winning start, as does Holland. “It’s huge,” said Scott. “We’ve been in tournaments where you start off strong and that just sets up your whole week. When you start off a little shaky it takes a while to find your footing. “We have two draws off now and we definitely didn’t want to dwell on a first loss for that long.” Jones agreed . . . sort of . . . “It’s a long week so you just want to get as many wins as you can, but the first one isn’t mandatory,” she said. “We were getting used to the ice but I think we figured it out well.” Opined Holland: ““It’s always great to come out and win your first game — the energy level stays up and that’s good because our schedule is going to get tougher over the new few days. “Earlier in the year we had lots of games like that. We just didn’t follow up in the next games after that. The key for us here is consistency so we’ll take something from that and look forward to the next game (this afternoon against New Brunswick).(Continued Below…) Draw 2 Media Scrum

And a Saskatchewan green team wearing red and white? “It feels different,” Holland agreed. “Especially when you look up at the big (arena) screen.” Rookie Horgan, playing with her sister Jennifer Seabrook at third, trailed by two playing the 10th end but managed the tying pair and stole the winner in an 11th argument against the Islanders. “We’re trying to stay calm and do our best and just learn as much as we can this week,” said Horgan. “I think we’re lucky the competition is tough in Ontario and that really prepares us. We don’t have a whole lot of experience on arena ice but it’s really good, we really loved it and I think we’re getting the hang of it.” Is there that deer-in-the-headlights fear a possibility? “At moments it can be tough staying confident in such an experienced field,” said Horgan, “but the crowd’s amazing, there will be some distractions we’re not used to but we’re going to enjoy all of this.” Battling Alberta’s Heather Nedohin team tooth and nail from the outset in the afternoon, Galusha trailed 5-3 after just four ends. Then she tied it in the fifth and stole ahead by one in the sixth. After an exchange of singles, Alberta trailed by one playing the 10th and Nedohin faced a tough raise takeout for the win but the offending Territories brick jammed, leaving Galusha in possession of the hammer in overtime. “I didn’t think I was going to have a shot at the end but Heather missed her guard and we threw a nice control hit and we made it,” said Galusha of her in-turn angle raise takeout. Galusha professes to be a “different curler” at this Scotties rendition. “We had our practice yesterday and we talked about the ice,” she said. “A lot of times we come here and struggle on arena ice. We never play on it. We played on club ice that’s really heavy and doesn’t curl a lot. We talked about loving the ice. Now I feel the most comfortable I’ve ever been at a Scotties.”