An early upset at Tournament of Hearts

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- Once again, the P.E.I. squad had to brave a snowstorm just to get here in time to get this party started.

And Suzanne Gaudet indicated that she may start a small storm her own when she upset Alberta's Cheryl Bernard 7-2 in their opening game of the 2007 Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Enmax Centre yesterday.

"It was a good way to start, just getting used to the ice our first game," the reserved Spud Island skip said. "It was definitely a great outcome, that's for sure."

Not only is Bernard the hometown fave but is also favoured to be among the finalists here.

Three years ago, Gaudet arrived late because of a snowstorm, lost and never recovered. Her team's flight out of P.E.I. was cancelled so arrangements were made to cab through the storm to Halifax and catch a plane there

"Thank goodness, we got to the (Halifax) airport on time and everything went smoothly on Thursday," said Gaudet, supported by third Robyn MacPhee, second Carol Webb and Stefanie Clark.

"A couple of years go, we actually storm-stayed on P.E.I. so we arrived to the Scott late. We're thankful we got here on time."

And won.

"That wasn't a good game," Bernard said after her first appearance here since 1996. "My team played really well, I just struggled.

"It's kind of deflating not to have the kind of game that I wanted to have."

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan's Jan Betker bear Nova Scotia's Jill Mouzar 8-3 to finish the first day alone in top spot at 2-0.

"We came in under the radar and got off to a good start," said Betker, who had opened with a 9-3 victory over Manitoba's Jennifer Jones. "Right now, it feels great and it gives you confidence."

Team Canada, B.C., P.E.I. and Ontario were all tied for second at 1-0 while Manitoba was 1-1.

Earlier, Yukon/NWT's Kerry Koe had upended Mouzar 6-3, just after Koe's second Team, Kelli Turpin, won the Hot Shots competition, winning a two-year lease too a 2007 Ford Edge -- the first time anyone from the northern lights rep has won it. Then it opened with a victory.

"Winning the first one makes a big difference," Koe said before dropping a 12-8 decision to Jones last night. "Last year, we lost the first and struggled the rest of the week. And it was a big struggle both on and off the ice."

Turpin, meanwhile, was asked if she even needed a new vehicle.

"I live in Inuvik and I can walk anywhere in 10 minutes, but I'll take it," she said. "But it is a 12-hour drive down the Dempster Highway to Whitehorse."


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