Underdog Alberta tops B.C.'s Scott

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- The Wild Rose Wonder struck on the ice once more.

Valerie Sweeting, the surprise Alberta champion, upset B.C.'s two-time Canadian champion Kelly Scott 6-5 in her very first Scotties Tournament of Hearts contest at the Essar Centre last night.

"We're pretty excited to be here," said a self-assured Sweeting, 21. "We just wanted to go out there and play well like we know we can. I mean, they're a great team, too, but we knew it would be a good game. We just had to take our chances when they came and we knew we could play well."

Sweeting is skipping the youngest squad here but they were not intimidated by Scott, one of the pre-tournament favourites here.

"Intimidated? I don't think so," said Sweeting, who beat both Olympic bronze-medallist Shannon Kleibrink and former Canadian champ Cathy King on the same day in the provincial playoffs. "Being from Alberta, we've played a lot of the top teams that you see on TV all the time also. We played them in provincials and we did well there. So, we're just trying to keep our cool and play it one game at a time."

Gee, sound like she is ready to win this whole enchilada.

"If we keep up like that, we could," Sweeting said.

Meanwhile, P.E.I.'s Kathy O'Rourke shocked Saskatche-wan's Amber Holland 10-3 with another youngster, Erin Carmody, throwing skip rocks.

"I think we forgot how to curl for a few ends," said Holland. "We just didn't get rocks in good spots and they came on strong after so, hence the result."

The loss came on the heels of Holland winning the Ford Hot Shots competition. She said she would trade the car for the win.

"It doesn't feel very good," said Holland, 35. "I, myself, played OK. I didn't have a lot of shots there in a couple of those ends. I feel like I'm throwing pretty good, I'm just not getting results."

Actually, Holland shot 46%.

Carmody, who shot 75%, was quietly overjoyed.

"I guess I'm pretty excited," said Carmody, 21. "I think it was a surprise. We were a little bit nervous coming in playing Saskatchewan in this game. But we knew, if we settled down and threw some good shots, we'd be all right ... It feels pretty good."

P.E.I. then improved to 2-0 and first place with an 11-8 victory over N.B.'s Andrea Kelly.

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones opened with a 10-5 triumph over fellow Manitoban Jill Thurston.

Jones, who is seeking her third straight Canadian crown, denied feeling any added pressure.

"No, we're at the Scotties, it's fun," she said. "We've already won before ... Now, we have a chance to win again so if anything, there's less pressure."

In another game of note, Ontario's Krista McCarville clocked Kelly 9-2.

"It's nice having that first win because, when you get that first win, it usually means you've got a good hold on the ice and a good feel for shooting," McCarville said. "And they beat us last year so, it was a little revenge."

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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