There is simply no substitute for experience.
No one can fault the young members of the Krysta Burns Northern Ontario rink (Megan Smith, Sara Guy, Amanda Gates) for putting their academics and career aspirations ahead of their love of curling. Most in their shoes would do the same.
But the team knew, going in, that they would be facing opponents who have been far more active on the high-end bonspiel circuit in recent years than the NOCA crew made their debut at the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
A pair of games on Sunday against teams that finished the 2019-2020 season ranked in the top twenty in the World Curling Tour - Women's Rankings simply drove that point home.
Sitting 20th on the list, the Alberta rink skipped by Laura Walker jumped out to a 6-2 lead after six ends on Sunday morning, closing things off with a steal of five in the eighth as Northern Ontario fell to 1-1 following a 12-2 setback at the hands of the westerners.
Battling the defending Scotties champions and #2 in the world foursome led by Manitoban Kerri Einarson in the evening draw, the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club quartet knew that they were in for a second ultra-stiff test in the same day.
Tied at 2-2 after three ends, the contest would unravel for the locals as Team Canada counted eight in the next three ends, taking command and chalking up a 12-4 victory over the three-time Northern Ontario junior champions.
The lopsided affair did allow fifth Kira Brunton to get her first taste of Scotties play under her belt, sliding in to replace lead Amanda Gates for a pair of ends.
And while skip Tracy Fleury is at home in Sudbury, tending to the health of her young daughter, Team Fleury (Wildcard #3) are off to a great start in Calgary.
Welcoming veteran Alberta rock-thrower Chelsea Carey to the mix, the Manitoba trio of Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe and Kristin MacCuish have bested Nunavut (Lori Eddy - 6-3), Manitoba (Jennifer Jones - 9-2) and New Brunswick (Melissa Adams - 9-2) to top the Pool "B" standings at 3-0.
Meanwhile, Northern Ontario will look to turn things around this evening, facing Laura Eby, before meeting up with 2017 world champion Rachel Homan on Wednesday.