Team Canada opens with win

Team Canada skip Amber Holland reacts to her shot while playing Newfoundland/Labrador at the...

Team Canada skip Amber Holland reacts to her shot while playing Newfoundland/Labrador at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Red Deer, Alberta on February 18, 2012. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

Con Griwkowsky, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:47 AM ET

RED DEER, Alta. - Rumours of Team Canada’s demise seem to be greatly exaggerated.

Amber Holland took advantage of an eighth-end miscue by Heather Strong of Newfoundland to steal three points and win her first game at the 2012 Scotties.

The 7-4 win was in doubt until Strong’s final draw of the end went heavy.

No team was able to muster a second win in Day 1’s unbalanced schedule as seven teams finished opening day with one win each.

Holland hopes this is a start of a more consistent week than she’s put up so far this year.

“Earlier in the year, we probably had lots of games like that,” said Holland. “We just probably didn’t follow up on the next game. Like I’ve said to most people, the key for us here is consistency.

“It’s always great to come out and win your first game at the Scotties. The first time we were here a couple of years back, we didn’t do that. It’s a good feeling. The energy level moves up over the next few days. It’s good to have that positive energy.”

Holland still finds it somewhat weird that she’s wearing Team Canada colours.

“When you look up on the screen and expect green and now it’s red and white,” said Holland. “But that’s OK.”

Kerry Galusha stayed sharp after winning the Ford Hot Shots event earlier in the day, beating Alberta’s Heather Nedohin 8-7 with her brother Kevin Koe watching from the stands.

“To beat a team like Alberta, it’s pretty good,” said Galusha, who needed an angle raise takeout to seal the win. “I didn’t think I was going to have a shot. Heather missed her guard, so I just said ‘OK, guys we have a shot to win this.’ I threw a nice control hit and it worked.”

Nedohin had chances to steal the game and took the responsibility for not being able to finish off the underdog.

“In the 11th end, I’d like to take both those shots back,” said Nedohin. “Give it to the Hot Shot, she played well.”

Nedohin knew Galusha was a team that has the ability to hang in there.

“That’s a veteran, experienced Territories team,” said Nedohin. “Honestly, she played like a Hot Shot (Saturday). She played extremely well.

“I thought we had it until the last two shots in the extra end. We left her a shot and she made it, so good on her.”

With games against 2011 finalists Canada and Manitoba on Sunday, Nedohin needs to quickly regain her form before she finds her team out of the race.

Galusha dropped her night start after giving up a six-ender to PEI’s Kim Dolan, who became the 12th team to score a six-ender in Scotties history and the third from PEI.

Rookie Ontario skip Tracy Horgan stole an extra-end win in her first-ever Scotties game, 7-6 over Dolan.

“It was awesome,” Horgan said. “It’s the first time we’ve ever played in this kind of environment with so many people. We talked to a couple of people (Scotties veterans) along the way who gave us some advice on what it would be like.”

Four-time Scotties champ Jennifer Jones got her week off to a good start with an 7-3 win over Rebecca Atkinson of New Brunswick.

“I thought we played pretty well,” said Jones, who stole a pair in the ninth to seal the tight battle. “We controlled the game from the first end, which is important for us.

“It’s a long week. You want to get as many wins as you can. Winning your first one is nice, but it’s not mandatory.”

Saskatchewan’s Michelle Englot stole one in 10 to beat 2011 bronze medallist Heather-Smith Dacey 7-5.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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