Ontario grabs top spot at Scotties

Ontario skip Krista McCarville celebrates a shot with lead Kari MacLean during the Scotties...

Ontario skip Krista McCarville celebrates a shot with lead Kari MacLean during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:10 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — The local lasses had just won the first-place showdown and received a standing ovation from the hometown crowd as they slid triumphantly down the ice.

Ontario's Krista McCarville clobbered P.E.I.'s Kathy O'Rourke 9-3 at the Essar Centre Tuesday night to grab top spot at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with an impressive 6-1 record.

Ontario second Ashley Miharija apparently had chills during the applause.

"Ashley said, 'Oh my gosh, it feels like we just won the entire week,'" said Ontario third Tara George. "It's a great feeling. It really is."

It could be a foreshadow of things to come for McCarville, who may be curling the best of her life here this week.

"Here and I think in Edmonton (Canadian Curling Trials)," she said. "I think the key for myself was picking up on the ice and I felt great with the ice both games (Tuesday). I think that's key for my confidence. The girls can see, if I'm confident in my ice, it will build on their confidence as well."

McCarville, who clipped Newfoundland's Shelley Nichols 8-5 earlier, has already dreamed of wearing the Maple Leaf as Canada's rep at the women's world championship next month.

"I wore it once at the University Games but it wasn't the same," she said. "I'm dying to wear that Maple Leaf."

O'Rourke dropped into a second-place tie with Team Canada's Jennifer Jones at 5-2.

"I'm disappointed that the game wasn't a better game," said O'Rourke. "We're still in good position. We lost to one of the best teams here, obviously, so we're not that disappointed with the loss. Moreso with the fact that we didn't give them a better game."

Meanwhile, Jones rebounded from two straight losses Monday with victories over B.C.'s Kelly Scott and Alberta's Valerie Sweeting. Between them, Jones and Scott have won the last five consecutive Canadian crowns.

"It's kind of neat (to play former Canadian champs)," said Jones, who clipped Scott 10-7. "They're a great team and we have a ton of respect for them. It's always fun to play them. We always have a good game and it was nice to have the last one (hammer) this time."

Jones won the Hearts title in 2005, 2008 and '09 and is seeking her third straight championship belt. Her foursome also won the 2008 world crown.

"Oh yeah, Canadian champions, world champions — you want to see how you measure up," Scott said. "It feels good when you can beat a team like that and we do hope to see them again (in the playoffs).

"We played a little bit better. We're still not where we'd like to be but I thought we had a good day (Tuesday)."

Scott fell into a fourth-place tie with Manitoba's Jill Thurston and Quebec's Eve Belisle at 4-3. Belisle beat Yukon/NWT's Sharon Cormier 6-5 to keep pace. Thurston had beaten Alberta's Sweeting 7-4.


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