P.E.I. faces down Canada

P.E.I. lead Tricia Affleck (left) shares a laugh with second Erin Carmody during Tuesday action at...

P.E.I. lead Tricia Affleck (left) shares a laugh with second Erin Carmody during Tuesday action at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (QMI Agency/Michael Purvis)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- A pair of youngsters who learned the game on an island known more for our Founding Fathers than fabulous curlers have proven they belong on the national stage.

P.E.I.'s Kathy O'Rourke scored a 9-5 victory over Team Canada's Jennifer Jones at the Essar Centre Wednesday night to take sole possession of first place at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 7-2 record.

"It's pretty terrific," said O'Rourke, a veteran who calls the game and throws second stones. "After (Wednesday) night's game against Ontario, when we didn't play very well and they beat us bad, we just got together this morning and said, 'We've got to start making shots or people are going to beat us out here.'

"So, we came on really, really strong against Quebec this morning and just tried to carry that through with Team Canada (last night) and I guess we did do that."

Neither Erin Carmody, who throws the last brick, nor third Geri-Lynn Ramsay, 21, showed any signs of jitters facing the two-time defending champ. In fact,Ramsay made the key shot that lead to scoring a a go-ahead deuce in the ninth end, followed by a perfect draw by Carmody.

"Obviously, they're Team Canada so, they're really good," said Carmody, 21. "But we focus on one shot at a time and put all our energy into sweeping and line calls.

"I don't usually get too nervous, we just focus on the outcome the best we can and don't focus on opposition."

They have learned well from O'Rourke.

"They're handling it like old pros," she said.

The victory guarantees P.E.I. at least a tie-breaker.

"That's good to know," O'Rourke said. "But our job's not finished here yet. We still have two roundobin games to go."

Jones was frustrated by blowing a 5-3 lead after seven ends.

"Obviously, they did play very well and we just had the bad finish to the game and that's not characteristic of our team at all," she said. "It was a bad ninth end. I wish we could play it over again but we can't so, we'll have to have to come out with a better effort (today)."

Jones dropped into a second-place tie with Ontario's Krista McCarville and Manitoba's Jill Thurston at 6-3.

Thurston won both her games Wednesday, including a 10-5 victory over Ontario.

"We had a really good day," Thurston said. "We played well and won two games we obviously had to win and now, we're in control our own destiny. We'll just have to go out and win those two games (today) and get into the playoffs."

Meanwhile, McCarville lost both her games and seemed to be afflicted by the same 'Sault City Funk' that affected Jones on Monday, looking dazed and confused at the end of the day.

"I'd like to forget about it, for sure," McCarville said. "It seemed like everything went wrong. We couldn't get anything around the corners and it was like a struggle just to get a point on the board, and we just kept giving up steals."

Meanwhile, B.C.'s Kelly Scott nipped Nova Scotia's Nancy McConnery 8-7 in an extra end to move into a fifth-place tie with Saskatchewan's Amber Holland at 5-4.


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