RED DEER -- The wheels appear to be coming off a highly-touted Nova Scotia foursome here at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts this week.
After a third-place finish at the 2011 Scotties in Charlottetown, there was some thinking that Heather Smith-Dacey was poised to finally take the next big step to join the elite of women’s curling.
But after Nova Scotia losses today to NWT/Yukon’s Kerry Galusha on the morning draw and Ontario’s Tracy Horgan on the afternoon draw, Nova Scotia heads into Monday still winless at 0-3 and with the skip seemingly pointing the finger of blame at someone other than herself.
"I actually don’t feel like I’m playing that bad," Smith-Dacey said after the loss to Ontario. "The ends in that game that they made three and four, I made both my shots. So I was just facing really tough shots. The team overall is not executing so we’re getting into some trouble.
"It’s a long week, so you just have to play hard and hope for a tiebreaker at this point."
For the record, Smith-Dacey is shooting a field-worst 63 percent through her first three games.
Smith-Dacey said her team’s performance has fallen well short of expectations.
"I expected out of this weekend a 2-1 record. We just haven’t been making enough shots," said Smith-Dacey. "I’m disappointed. We just have to pick up our game. It’s as simple as that."
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Team Canada’s Amber Holland was on the verge here tonight of doing something she’s only done one other time this season -- win three games in a row.
With a 6-5 win over New Brunswick’s Rebecca Atkinson this afternoon, Holland improved to 2-0 and headed into a contest tonight against Alberta’s Heather Nedohin with a chance to win three games in a row for the first time since Thanksgiving after what was a terrible cash spiel season for her squad.
"Woo-hoo! Yay for us!," laughed Holland. "We’re playing good, we’re executing well. As you know in this event, you have to stay with it, stay on the right side of the inch. No team here is going to give you anything for free. We have to do it on our own."
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It’s been awhile since BC’s Kelly Scott has been a force on the final weekend at the Scotties, but she was 2-0 heading into tonight’s action and feeling buoyant.
Scott won back-to-back Canadian women’s titles in 2006 and 2007, but her foursome failed to make the playoffs last year and were a first-round casualty the year before.
But with a newly configured team this winter that has Ashern’s Sasha Carter moving up from her traditional spot at second to throw third rocks, Winnipeg’s Scott was undefeated through her first two games.
"I don’t think we quite know the potential of this team yet," said Scott. "So I will hold out my hopes for that.
"At this point we’re still building... but I like what I see."
Scott said there really wasn’t much of a difference between the dominant force her team was in the early years -- they also lost the final of the 2005 Canadian Curling Trials that sent Shannon Kleibrink to the Winter Olympics -- and the team of the past couple years.
"In our championship years, we were making everything," said Scott. "And it doesn’t take much to knock yourself from first place to fourth place. In this type of field, it takes a shot a game really. That’s all it comes down to."