REGINA -- How do you spell relief? T-E-R-R-I-T-O-R-I-E-S.
Manitoba's Jennifer Jones rebounded from her worst performance ever at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts to beat up on the only winless team here.
Jones jumped all over Yukon/NWT's Kerry Galusha, stealing deuces in the third and fourth ends as she emerged with an 8-2 victory in eight ends before 3,955 fans at the Brandt Centre yesterday afternoon.
That was a far cry from the 11-4 shellacking Jones suffered at the hands of Ontario's Sherry Middaugh in the morning. That was the worst loss Jones has ever posted in her five trips to the nationals. (Manitoba's worst losses at the Hearts were 12-2 in 1996 and 11-1 in 1985.)
"It wasn't quite night and day," objected Manitoba second Jill Officer. "Unfortunately, it probably wasn't the Territories' best game, so it wasn't quite as big a challenge (as Ontario). But it was nice for us to be able to play some shots and get a little sharper."
The Buffalo gals outshot their opponents from the Great White North 83%-64%.
"I thought we played well," said Jones, who shot 89%. "They missed a couple of shots that helped us out early."
It may have been Yukon/NWT's worst showing this week.
"No one feels happy after losing 8-2 but we like to enjoy ourselves out there and try to do our best to stick with the teams and we just didn't come out firing on all cylinders," said Territories third Teejay Surik, who moved to Yellowknife from Saskatchewan last year. "We gave them a lead early on and just weren't able to come back."
After being bombed by Middaugh in the morning, Officer was asked if there was going to be some good, old-fashioned butt-kicking between games.
"We say what has to be said and it's all fine," she replied. "I mean, we're not like men where we may be yelling at each other and then we go have a frickin' beer afterwards. We say what needs to be said and we talk about things."
And that is exactly what they did.
"As much as you guys think we yell at each other, we don't," Jones said. "But we weren't that bad, we were just a little bit off and we just had to be on the right side of the inch and manage the ice a little bit better ... We just said we had to play better and take advantage of our opportunities when we get them."
But even if the Manitobans were playing a weaker opponent, they did manage to get back on track.
"We needed to win this game," Jones underscored. "We never like back-to-back losses, never mind three in a row. So, we knew we had to win this game and it was nice to come out and play well and end it early."
Manitoba improved to 3-2 and a three-way tie for fifth place heading into the late draw. But Jones still has some demanding games ahead, including Quebec and Alberta today.
"Playoffs aren't really approaching yet, we've got a lot of games left," Officer said. "We've got some big games and tough teams left."
Middaugh had actually beaten Jones in an extra end the only two times they played this season before the Hearts.
"You expect it to come down to last rock," she said. "We had Jen facing some tough shots, which was nice. We obviously put the pressure on them so it was a combination of some good shots on our part and some misses on their part."
BITERS: Sunday's TSN telethon raised a total of $171,425 for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation ... The CCA confirmed yesterday that the Canada Cup will move to Yorkton, Sask., next year.