Jones off to quick start

Team Canada skip Jennifer Jones watches her shot against Saskatchewan on Sunday. QMI Agency/Rachele...

Team Canada skip Jennifer Jones watches her shot against Saskatchewan on Sunday. QMI Agency/Rachele Labrecque)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- It could be another way of erasing the memory of the bad dream known as the Canadian Curling Trials.

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones sunk Saskatchewan's Amber Holland 7-3 in a Scotties Tournament of Hearts contest at the Essar Centre yesterday.

Holland had knocked Jones off balance in the first game of the trials, downing her 8-5. Jones never recovered, finishing with a deplorable 2-5 record, dashing her Olympic hopes.

"Any win's a big win and it's not a cliche," Jones said. "Obviously, Amber's a good team. They beat us in the trials on opening draw so it was nice to come out and play well today and I thought we controlled the game ... It's not revenge. It's just nice to come out and win."

But the result shows that this is already a different team than the one that left Edmonton with its collective tail between its legs.

"It was a totally different game," said Canada second Jill Officer. "We came out pretty flat in that first game at the trials. So, we just figured if we went out and played our game, then hopefully we'd be OK in the end and we were."

Not only that but Jones moved into a share of first place with Ontario's Krista McCarville with a 3-0 record.

"That was our best team game so far so that's a nice way to end our day," said Jones, who had a bye last night. "It's better to be 3-0 than 0-3 but it's a long week and we have to be a little bit better."

Jones had beaten New Brunswick's Andrea Kelly 5-4 earlier.

"We came out with two wins but we still feel like we can improve on our play and how sharp we are and different things," Officer said.

And Jones knows how fleeting winning streaks can be.

"We've got off to a bunch of different starts," she said. "I think we did this last year and had to fight through to the tie-breakers. I mean, a win is a win, no matter when you get it in the week. It's nice to get them early, obviously, but it's important how you're playing at the end of the week."

Meanwhile, Manitoba's Jill Thurston rebounded from an opening-game loss to Jones -- where she lost her feel for draw weight -- with a pair of wins of her own.

"The ice was back to where it was so we felt confident about where to put the broom and draw weight so, we're happy with that," said Thurston, who defeated Nova Scotia's Nancy McConnery 7-3 and overwhelmed Newfoundland's Shelley Nichols 11-6.

Icemaker B.J. Gagnon told Thurston's team that the ice changed when he attempted to fix a problem during Saturday's game.

"I don't know what happened, whether it was the ice or maybe it was just me," Thurston said. "It was a long day (Saturday) with a bunch of rounds of Hot Shots so maybe, I just wasn't pushing out as hard as I thought I was. I don't know. Anyway, we talked it over and today was a good day."

But she was troubled by her missed draws before her head hit the pillow.

"I felt bad for the girls because they played pretty well considering that the circumstances, being it was their first national game and being on TV and against Team Canada and all that," Thurston said. "But they played pretty well. We realized what happened and you just have to put that out of your mind and move forward."

They have already started.

"She's got her mojo back, it's good," said Manitoba third Kristen Phillips. "We needed to come back strong and we did. This team is a great team, we're just going to work hard all week and see what happens."

Jones plays the Yukon/N.W.T. and Newfoundland today. Thurston faces P.E.I. and Saskatchewan.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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