Jones loses second straight

Yukon/Northwest Territories skip Sharon Cormier (right) gestures in front of Team Canada skip...

Yukon/Northwest Territories skip Sharon Cormier (right) gestures in front of Team Canada skip Jennifer Jones at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts curling championships in Sault Ste. Marie on Monday, Feb. 1. (REUTERS/ Mike Cassese)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — A wild and windy snowstorm here seemed to wipe out any momentum the defending champs had built at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Team Canada's Jennifer Jones was upset by a pair of teams not expected to challenge for this year's crown at the Essar Centre. Newfoundland's Shelley Nichols upended Jones 8-4 last night. Earlier in the day, Yukon/NWT's Sharon Cormier clobbered Jones 10-4.

"It's very disappointing," said Jones. "I played very badly (yesterday) so, I'll have to come back and play better (today). It was not a very good day for us but it's the way it goes.

"An off day, you can park them. Rebounding off a loss, we're going to have a tough day (today) and we're going to have to be sharper. I just didn't make enough shots today and it didn't work out … I just didn't execute the way I need to and hopefully, I'll be better (today)."

Nichols, 2-3, shrugged off any suggestion that beating Canada was any more special than any other win.

"I feel the same way I do after any other win," she said.

But you could not say the same for the Cormier crew.

"It feels great," said Cormier, 45. "We're very excited because it's the team that everyone loves to beat because they're the champions two years in a row and it's nice to come out with a win, for sure … The Territories beat them last year as well so, we're trying to make it a regular thing."

Cormier was actually the fifth for Kerry Galusha when she downed Jones 8-5 in Victoria, B.C. at the last Hearts.

"Last year was a much tighter game and Kerry made a super shot to win that game," recalled Cormier, 2-3. "So, I don't think it was similar in that respect. So, we got some lucky breaks in this game. They had a couple of picks and we capitalized on it, that's all."

But Cormier has already become an instant heroine back in Yellowknife — just like Galusha was last winter.

"Yeah, you get lots of people congratulating you and shaking your hand for beating Team Canada, for sure," she said.

The Northerners seem to give Jones trouble every year, but Jones still rebounded to win the title.

"Maybe it's an omen," Jones suggested hopefully.

Jones dropped to 3-2 and a five-way tie for third with Manitoba's Jill Thurston, Quebec's Eve Belisle, Alberta's Valerie Sweeting and B.C.'s Kelly Scott.

Ontario's Krista McCarville clipped Scott 7-6 to move into a first-place tie with P.E.I.'s Kathy O'Rourke at 4-1.

"We rebounded after that loss (to Saskatchewan) and what's really important when you come to the Scotties is rebounding after losses so, we did good," McCarville said. "I played fabulous out there and our team played pretty good."

O'Rourke had nipped Thurston 7-6 earlier.

"Wow, that's pretty impressive for little P.E.I., isn't it?" O'Rourke relished. "It feels pretty good."

In the other games on the evening draw, Quebec's Eve Belisle blasted Alberta's Valerie Sweeting 9-1; Ontario's Krista McCarville beat B.C.'s Kelly Scott 7-6 and Manitoba's Jill Thurston nipped Saskatchewan's Amber Holland 9-7 in an extra end.

Earlier Monday, Sharon Cormier of the Yukon/Northwest Territories clobbered Jones 10-4.

P.E.I.'s Kathy O'Rourke also downed Thurston 7-4 to move into sole possession of first place at 4-1.

In other games on the afternoon draw, B.C.'s former Canadian champion Kelly Scott beat New Brunswick's Andrea Kelly 8-3 and Alberta's Valerie Sweeting sunk Nova Scotia's Nancy McConnery 8-5. Both B.C. and Alberta are also 3-1.

On Monday morning, Holland toughed out a 7-6 victory over McCarville and Belisle defeated Nichols 9-3.


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