The Crystal ball says ... it's Webster

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

GRANDE PRAIRIE -- In a field like this, you don't need an electronic hog-line detector to figure out the race for a playoff spot is going to be close.

Chances are there will be no undefeated teams and no winless teams when the round-robin ends Saturday morning.

After opening-day action, though, you can tell Crystal's having a ball.

Crystal Webster, who's skipping a Grande Prairie entry at the women's provincial, ran her record to 2-0. Webster opened with a last-rock 6-5 win over Edmonton's Deb Santos before whupping Heather Rankin of Calgary in six ends.

"We're very excited, obviously," said Webster.

"It's a good day. Heather didn't have her draw weight right off the top. We've all been there, done that. It went to our advantage early."

In a field like this, teams are going to have to take advantage of any break they can get.

"Absolutely, it takes a little pressure off," said Webster. "You know you have to play well, but our backs aren't up against the wall right away. It does put us into a great position for the rest of the week. All things accomplished so far."

Calgary's Cheryl Bernard, with a steal of two against Grande Prairie's Renee Sonnenberg in an extra end and defending champ Cathy King also started at 2-0.

Edmonton's Atina Johnston won the battle of Olympic medallists when she drew the can against Shannon Kleibrink for a 6-5 win.

"We were both in kind of the same boat,'' said Johnston, the fifth on Sandra Schmirler's gold medal team at the 1998 Olympics. "It's pretty nice. What's satisfying is that sheet of ice. We figured (it) out a bit better and got through the first-day jitters.''

Johnston is the type of player that prefers to be cast in an underdog role.

"If in my whole life, if I could pretend I'm not around, I could be really happy,'' said Johnston.

That win put Johnston at 1-1 with King and Sonnenberg. Kleibrink, Deb Santos and Rankin are still winless at 0-2.


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