SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — The girls from a little island named for a Prince hope to be crowned queens of the curling world today.
Prince Edward Island's Kathy O'Rourke clipped Ontario's home-town favourite Krista McCarville 10-6 in the semifinal of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Essar Centre last night.
With young Erin Carmody throwing the last rock, O'Rourke will challenge Team Canada's Jennifer Jones in today's final at 1:30 p.m. (CST). Jones is seeking her third straight title while it would be the first for P.E.I.
This is also P.E.I.'s first appearance in a Hearts final.
"Here we go again, P.E.I.'s pretty amazing right now," said O'Rourke. "We're pretty happy … We tried just to think one shot at a time out there the whole time and when it was over, we thought we were in just a little bit of shock. We're just happy that P.E.I.'s in the final because that's what we were fighting for and now, we're there."
Today's winner will represent Canada at the women's world championship in Moose Jaw, Sask., March 20-28, and get a berth in the next Canada Cup. Both finalists will get $35,000. McCarville will receive $20,000 for finishing third while B.C.'s Kelly Scott will take home $10,000 for fourth.
Jones had beaten P.E.I. 8-5 in Friday's one-two playoff.
"Obviously, we hope to still have some unfinished business but it feels real good to get into that final game and make that history for P.E.I.," said O'Rourke, who had beaten Team Canada 9-5 in the roundrobin. "Now, we want to make some real history, come out and have a great game tomorrow with Jennifer and see what happens.
"The game we had (Friday) was a little tough. Nerves were involved, there's no question. We were the only sheet on and there was a lot of attention on us. We've got that under our belts right now and, hopefully, we'll have a good game against them and we'll see what happens. Now, it's the rubber match."
Carmody, who was just 60% versus Jones, shot 93% against Ontario.
"(Erin) was on fire," said O'Rourke, who calls the game and throws second stone.
"Yeah, I was a little upset (Friday) but I knew if we got a good night's sleep and re-focused, we'd be fine," said Carmody, 21. "We just needed to come back (today) and focus on one shot at a time, take it a little bit easier and try to have a lot more fun. I think, (Friday), we were a little nervous and that showed.
"I just tried to park (Friday's) game. The girls were so good about it. Like, I was pretty upset after but they were right there to comfort me and support me, and they did everything they could to pick me up for this game."
Should O'Rourke win today, she would skip the Team Canada entry in next year's Scotties, which will be held in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
"It would be spectacular for a host committee to have a Team Canada from P.E.I.," she said.
O'Rourke cracked a three in the third end to take a 5-1 lead, then hung on for the victory.
"It's obviously very disappointing," said McCarville, who had eliminated Scott
8-6 in the three-four playoff. "We came here to win it and wear the Maple Leaf on our backs. We had such a good performance all week that it's frustrating to have a game like that. It wasn't our top game so that was a little bit frustrating but we're still young and all this is really good experience for hopefully, the years to come."