Jenn Hanna'S tears of despair from earlier in the week turned to tears of joy yesterday.
The Ottawa skip capped an improbable comeback at the Ontario Scott Tournament of Hearts women's championship yesterday at the Rideau Curling Club, beating Thunder Bay's Krista Scharf 6-4 in the title match for her eighth straight win of the tournament.
Hanna and teammates Pascale Letendre, Dawn Askin and younger sister Stephanie Hanna will represent the province at the national Scott Tournament of Hearts championship, Feb. 19-27 in St. John's.
Hanna stood at the centre of the sheet and cupped her right hand over her mouth when Scharf, who was facing four opposing stones in the rings, decided to concede and not throw her last stone in the 10th.
The winning team then gathered and embraced for a minute, much to the delight of the home-town fans, who cheered throughout the emotional scene.
"I came halfway down the sheet and tears started welling up in my eyes," said Hanna, describing her feelings after she made her final shot of the game.
"I started thinking, 'don't cry yet, she might have another shot to throw.' But I looked at my sister, and Steph was crying. It was all over then. I don't think I would have been able to throw another shot if I had to."
The victory was made all the more special for the Hanna team because it had a rocky start to the tournament, going a horrid 1-4 through five draws before starting a remarkable streak that carried the squad to the title.
Hanna downed Sudbury's Dawn Schwar on Wednesday night, then strung together seven more sudden-death victories, including one on Thursday night vs. Scharf and a 9-5 win in yesterday morning's semi-final over Thornhill's Chrissy Cadorin.
She finished the round-robin with a 5-4 record and needed a win by Thunder Bay's Tara George, who, in the last shot of the pre-playoff portion of the tournament, scored three in the 10th after a measurement to beat Janet McGhee of Uxbridge.
"It's a dream, a total dream," said Hanna, who has never been to Newfoundland. "I don't think it's completely sunk in. I wouldn't even let myself think (about winning) halfway through the week or even this morning because I knew I would be shaking so bad and I wouldn't be able to throw anything."
As has been the case since the streak began, Hanna threw brilliantly during yesterday's final.
Except for coming up short on a draw for a deuce in the ninth, Hanna was nearly flawless on her shots.
She saved her best for the second half of yesterday's game. Leading 3-2 in the sixth without last rock, Hanna made a perfect draw behind cover with her final stone to lie a pair, and Scharf was heavy on her last shot to give the locals a steal of two and a 5-2 advantage.
"That was huge, to go up three playing seven," said Hanna, who turned 25 on Jan. 22 and was the oldest player on either team in the final.
In the following end, Hanna faced a load of trouble on her first shot, facing a pair of Scharf counters buried behind a guard.
But Hanna threw a pistol, raising the guard to kill both of Scharf's stones and also got the guard to roll out, leaving an empty house.
Later, Scharf tried to blank the end but stuck after removing Hanna's counter to record only a single.
"I don't think she was calling that shot," said Scharf, referring to Hanna's double with her first stone in the seventh. "But it just happened to hit it absolutely perfect. That's just what happened. That's kind of how our luck was going and their luck was going.
"I just feel like I struggled with the ice a little bit. We just didn't have it (yesterday)," said Scharf.
Scharf gained some hope by stealing one the eighth and trailed by only two when Hanna was light on her draw to score just one in the ninth.
But Hanna's squad made the shots in the 10th to make sure Scharf had no chance.
"This is very special because we fought through it," said Letendre, Hanna's vice, who works as a maternity nurse at the General campus of the Ottawa Hospital. "Everyone thought we were out of it. Honestly, at one point, we did too, but we pulled through."