SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -
The Islanders have stolen the show at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
The Prince Edward Island team's solid play has translated into a playoff
berth at the Canadian women's curling championship.
Kathy O'Rourke, who completed the round robin with an 8-3 record despite a
10-5 loss to B.C.'s Kelly Scott on Thursday afternoon, wrapped up a berth in
the 1 versus 2 Page playoff game.
The lightly regarded O'Rourke accomplished the feat with two 21-year-olds -
Erin Carmody and Geri-Lynn Ramsay - capably handling the pressure of playing
the back end in their first Scotties.
Tricia Affleck, 39, is the lead, while O'Rourke, 45, throws second stones
and calls the game.
Ramsay plays third and Carmody throws skip stones.
"When we came here we didn't think we would be in the one-two game,'' said
O'Rourke. "But am I surprised that the team is playing so well and this is
where we are at the end of the week? No because I knew this team had the
potential to play well.''
Who O'Rourke is going to play in today's playoff was to be determined in
Thursday night's draw.
Team Canada's Jennifer Jones and Ontario's Krista McCarville (7-3) were tied
for second place heading into the final draw of the round robin.
Manitoba's Jill Thurston and Scott were at 6-4, followed by Saskatchewan's
Amber Holland and Quebec's Eve Belisle at 5-5, New Brunswick's Andrea Kelly
(5-6), Shelley Nichols of Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta's Sweeting
(4-6), Sharon Cormier of the Northwest Territories-Yukon (4-7) and Nova
Scotia's Nancy McConnery (1-10).
The top four teams, barring tiebreakers, advance to the playoffs.
The final is set for Sunday.
O'Rourke's first-year squad is a mix of youth and experience.
O'Rourke and Affleck are both appearing in their sixth Scotties.
It's the first national women's championship for Carmody and Ramsay, who had
appeared in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Canadian junior women's championship as
The youngsters recruited the veterans after they exhausted their junior
The partnership has paid off in P.E.I.'s best round-robin performance at a
Scotties since Suzanne Gaudet finished first in 2003 with a 10-1 record.
No team from Prince Edward Island has won a national women's title.
"If you watch them play, it's not too hard to curl with them,'' said
Affleck. "On or off the ice they are great to be around. They are
technically sound, focused and driven. They also work hard at it and I'm
lucky to be part of the team.''
Allan Ledgerwood, who coached Carmody and Ramsay in junior and is now
O'Rourke's coach, was also looking for older players with a drive similar to
that of his young players.
He found that in Affleck and O'Rourke.
"I'm pretty dedicated to the game and I've thrown a lot of rocks in my
time,'' said Affleck. "Kathy was a good fit because she knows the game and
works hard at it, too. Allan wanted to ice four people who work hard.''
Carmody and Ramsay also have their own chemistry because they have been best
friends since Grade 2.
"It's pretty amazing we have been together this long but it doesn't surprise
me,'' said Carmody. "We get along great. She always knows what I'm thinking
and I know what she's thinking. She's a great person to lean on when I need
Shelly Bradley is P.E.I.'s alternate.