Frosty beginning

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

PAISLEY, Scotland -- Two vastly different storylines involving Team Canada emerged on the opening day of the world women's curling championship. The first was told in the pile of white stuff that hit the carpet when sweepers Jill Officer and Cathy Gauthier shook off their brooms in the morning draw.

"When they said there was no snow in Scotland, they didn't mean inside, they meant outside," Canadian lead Gauthier said yesterday after her team earned a 6-5 extra-end win over Switzerland's Mirjam Ott in horrendous conditions.

"I've never in all my years of playing, played on that much frost."

The second and more important story was obvious from the grins on the Canadian players' faces after they pounded Finland (Kirsi Nykanen) 9-2 in the evening and left the Lagoon Leisure Centre with a pair of victories.

'GOOD GLIDE'

"We're happy," Team Canada skip Jennifer Jones said. "The ice was amazing. It was a little bit frosty, but it had good glide to it and it was a night-and-day difference from (the) morning. It had great movement, and it was really good ice for us."

The miraculous transformation of the ice was reflected in the Canadian scores. With no disrespect to Switzerland, Ott's team was only in a close game because of the wildly unpredictable ice.

The night game was no contest.

"I've never wanted to call for the shovel before," Gauthier, who is appearing in her third world championship, said in the morning. "And it would have helped today."

Canada, which also includes third Cathy Overton-Clapham and second Jill Officer, never even had a chance to use its game plan against the Swiss, with Jones electing to play hits at every opportunity instead of attempting finesse-type draws.

"It's very tricky for draw weight, and it can make you look bad," Jones said.

But in the evening it was the same old Jones foursome that steamrolled to the Canadian women's championship.

The Manitobans put all kinds of rocks in play and put big pressure on the over-matched Finns.

"It felt like we were at the Scott ... the ice conditions were similar, and we were able to play the game that we like," said Jones, whose team is tied for first place at 2-0 with Sweden, Norway and the United States.

From the beginning of play yesterday it was obvious the facility, which also includes a swimming pool, had a major humidity problem. But ice-maker Kirk Smyth got things under control later in the day and the level of curling came up considerably.

"I thought I was in the wrong place," Gauthier said of last night's game. "I couldn't believe the difference from the morning."

The morning conditions certainly affected the Swiss team. In the extra end, a Swiss rock was burned when one of the sweepers' brooms got stuck in the frost. That helped Canada set up for the victory.

And there seemed to be a lot of grumbling on every sheet of ice, where high scores and a heaping helping of stolen points were the order of the day.

"The game ends up being more of who misses the least," American skip Cassie Johnson said after her 9-8 victory over Scotland. "It's not really about strategy, but a lot of it is just making the other team miss. It wasn't really an advantage to have the hammer out there (in the morning)."

Jones took issue with that comment.

"I disagree ... it's always an advantage to throw last rock," Jones said. "I love it and I'd like to have it every end. Maybe (Johnson) will give it to us every end when we play her."

Canada is back on the ice for games today against Scotland (Kelly Wood) and Russia (Olga Zharkova).


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