Tough day for 'Toba

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- You could see this coming.

Even when Manitoba's Janet Harvey was playing decently, her foursome could not make those key shots that spell the difference between winning and losing. And they have inched closer to that cliff's edge above the abyss that kills all hopes at the Scott Tournament of Hearts national women's curling championship.

N.B.'s surprising young Andrea Kelly upset Team 'Toba 7-4 at the John Labatt Centre. Then Alberta's Cathy King clobbered them 9-3 to drop Harvey to 1-4. And that left Harvey's squad dazed and confused.

"It's terribly frustrating," third Jill Thurston admitted after the first loss. "We're struggling with the ice, we're struggling with some of the rocks, where to put the broom. I struggled with draw weight. I had no idea what draw weight was, and I still don't know ... I don't if it was the rocks or I'm not throwing the weight ... I don't understand. I'm just so frustrated."

Not reflected

Although Thurston maintained that the team was playing well enough, that certainly was not reflected in their percentages.

"We've been throwing the rocks pretty well, I'm not putting the broom where we need to put it," said Harvey, who shot a laughable 15% after the first three ends versus King. "I'm not reading the ice very well, which is part of our problem. But we've got to make the shots when we have the opportunity, and we haven't been doing that. When there's a door open, we're not going in."

Those doors are starting to close rapidly. Harvey knows she cannot afford another loss.

"We'll get up (today), and we'll give it our best shot," she said. "Stranger things have happened."

While the darkness was beckoning Harvey, a new light started to dawn on fellow Manitoban Jennifer Jones. After struggling through its first three games, Team Canada seemed to find the ingredient gone missing. Jones pasted P.E.I.'s Suzanne Gaudet 9-4, then overwhelmed the Yukon/N.W.T.'s Kerry Koe 9-5.

The defending champs looked much more relaxed versus Gaudet, and Jones even made a double raise-back double to punctuate the victory.

"All in all, we're feeling pretty good right now, but we've still got to play better, and we're hoping to play better (today)," said Jones, who shot over 80% for the first time in both games. "We just need to get a little precise, and our goal is to get better with each game. That way, we peak at the right time.

"The ice was the best it's been and had some movement, which made it that much more fun to play on."

Canada second Jill Officer figured it took this long for the team to get into its comfort zone here.

"It always seems to take a few games to get comfortable with the ice and everything like that," she said. "We just went out there and maybe were a little more focused and did our thing. We played our game, and it worked out for us. So, we're starting to get into that special place."

But were they concerned about sputtering through the first two days?

"Not at all, because it was just little things that we know how to change and know how to deal with," Officer said. "It wasn't like we were getting frustrated and missing shots. We knew what the little issues were, and we were talking about them after the games and remembering them going into games. But not worried at all, because it's a long week."

But it just got longer for Harvey, who faces Ontario's Krista Scharf and B.C.'s Kelly Scott today. Jones plays Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones and Saskatchewan's Tracy Streifel.

Another two wins would make her week a lot shorter.


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