HALIFAX -- The ice floes that start to form off the Nova Scotia coast next month may take a little longer this winter if this Manitoba meltdown continues.
For the second straight game, Jennifer Jones fell victim to a rules infraction and, as a result, lost her second consecutive match at the Canadian Curling Trials yesterday.
Manitoba lead Georgina Wheatcroft burned a guard as she was sweeping an attempted come-around takeout in the fifth end versus B.C.'s Kelly Scott. As a result, the rock was removed after making the hit to lie two. Scott then had an open hit for three to take a 6-3 lead and coasted to a 9-4 victory at the Halifax Metro Centre.
Jones seemed to react better to the burned rock than she did to her second hogline violation of the week in the first end of Monday's loss to Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton. However, Manitoba second Jill Officer denied that her skipper was rattled afterwards, even if she did shoot an uncharacteristic 63%.
"No, we've done enough work with (team sports psychologist) Cal (Botterill) that we can't let that affect us," Officer insisted after the team held its longest post-game session of the week with Botterill and coach Connie Laliberte. "You've got to move on and battle back. We just didn't battle back as well as we can. We know we can, we've done it tons of times."
Yet, after Monday's loss, Jones met with Botterill, Laliberte and fifth Janet Arnott alone.
"I don't care about people's perceptions, that's their problem," Officer said. "There's thousands of fans out here watching the game and everyone's going to have a different idea of what the hell went wrong."
Wheatcroft readily admitted that she burned the guard.
"I definitely moved the rock," she said. "I clunked it. I gave it a good whack."
But they still left it up to Scott to decide whether to remove the rock, which is her prerogative.
"It was a little bit of an uncomfortable position but I think both teams were in agreement on that," Scott said. "They were very classy about it. They handled it well."
But it was the turning point in the game.
"It had a little bit of an effect because, if we'd made the shot, Kelly's hitting against two," Officer said. "Instead, she's hitting for three so yeah, it kind of killed us. We weren't out of the game at that point, we just couldn't recover from it."
Just like the night before.
"You just have to bounce back but it's hard," said Jones, who shot a week-low 61% versus Scott. "These teams are so tough you can't give up three-point leads and expect to come back easily.
"We've had a lot of bad breaks so, we'll get rid of them early, hopefully."
Jones fell to 3-3 and into a four-way tie for fourth.
"We've got our backs against the wall and we've got to win," she said. "Hopefully, we'll get a good night's rest and come out sharp (today). We've got three big games ahead of us. I think we have to win out, yeah -- but we're good at that."
Jones plays Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones and Quebec's Marie-France Larouche today.
"We control our own destiny still," Officer said. "We just came out flat (Monday) night and we were a little flat again (yesterday) so, we've got to go think about what we're going to do to get our game on. It just happens and you have to figure out how to get into your zone. This is a long week and it's hard to stay in that place the whole time we're here. We're confident that we're going to bring out our A game for the rest of the week.
"We have no choice."