Stefanie Lawton’s crew from the Granite Curling Club in Saskatoon continues to be rock-solid at the 2010 Canada Cup in Medicine Hat.
Lawton dumped three-time defending Scotties champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg 7-2 in Draw 5 action Thursday morning at The Arena, running her record to a perfect 3-0 and sending Jones (2-1) to her first loss at the Canadian Curling Association’s first major event of the season.
“We know that Jennifer’s going to play an aggressive game. She likes lots of rocks around. So we know we don’t have to force it that much,” said Lawton, whose team includes third Sherry Anderson, second Sherri Singler, and lead Marliese Kasner.
“We just wanted to play a game where we could control it a bit, and take advantage . . . you don’t get very many opportunities with (Jones’s) team, because they’re great shooters. But when you do, you want to make it tough on them. We were able to do that.”
In other Draw 5 women’s action, Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., collected her second win of the tournament with an 8-5 decision against Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C. (0-3), while Chelsea Carey of Morden, Man., topped Shelley Nichols of St. John’s, N.L., 8-5, in a battle of previously winless squads.
On the men’s side in Draw 5, reigning Canadian and world champion Kevin Koe of Edmonton and Randy Ferbey, also of Edmonton, both stayed perfect at 3-0. Koe defeated Serge Reid of Jonquiere, Que., by an 8-5 count, while Ferbey downed Mat Camm of Ottawa 7-2 in a game that lasted just eight ends.
The 2010 Canada Cup has no direct bearing on playdowns for the 2014 Olympics at Sochi, Russia, but the men’s and women’s champions earn automatic berths at both the 2011 Canada Cup at Cranbrook, B.C., and the 2012 Continental Cup at Langley, B.C.
Lawton seized the advantage early against Jones, counting a pair in the second and fourth ends to go up 4-1. She later stole single points in the eighth and ninth panels.
“You want to be able to get your deuces when you have hammer, and we seemed to capitalize on that,” said Lawton. “The ice was a little bit keener, which is nice. It was really good out there. We’re catching on.
“We were able to capitalize on some opportunities we were given.”
Lawton had also defeated Jones in the final of the Colonial Square Ladies Classic in Saskatoon on Nov. 1.
“They played great, and we couldn’t seem to get anything going,” said Jones, “but it was one of those games. Hopefully we got that out of our system, and we’ll play better tonight (in Draw 7 vs. Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont.).
“We just weren’t as sharp as we’d like to be. We had a couple of chances, but just couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities. They played very well, and they deserved to win the game.”
Koe’s Edmonton-based Saville Sports Centre crew saw the return of lead Nolan Thiessen, who rejoined second Carter Rycroft and third Blake MacDonald after falling ill Wednesday night with a stomach flu and missing a 7-6, extra-end win over Rob Fowler of Brandon, Man.
“Nolan’s still a little under the weather. You could tell he still doesn’t have all his energy, but he’s better today,” said Koe. “That went through his whole family, back home, starting last weekend . . . we’re a little worried. Hopefully we don’t get it, because it seems to spread pretty quick. So far, so good.”
Koe’s quartet traded deuces with Reid over the first four ends before landing the telling blow, a three-spot in the fifth end.
“Reid’s team “struggled a bit. I don’t think they played as well as they normally do, and the skip missed a couple of key shots,” said Koe. “After we got up a few, we played really good, made a bunch of doubles. It’s nice to get that third win, but we’ve got a couple of tough ones coming up (against Jeff Stoughton in Draw 6 and Glenn Howard in Draw 10).”
Meanwhile, Ferbey’s partnership with St. John’s, N.L.-based Brad Gushue continues to pay dividends this week, as the amalgamated squad rolled to a 7-2 win over Camm (0-3).
“We’re getting a little more comfortable with the ice. We knew coming in that the first three games were important, because you can’t really afford to lose too many here,” said Ferbey. “We figure 4-1 will get you in (playoffs), and now we’ve put ourselves in a good position for that.
“We’ve been doing the right things (this season) by qualifying (for playoffs at various ’spiels), and for whatever reason, we haven’t made that one shot, or the other team’s made the shot against us, to stop us from getting to that next goal,” added Ferbey.
“All you can do is keep plugging away. We’re reasonably happy with the way we’re curling. Just keep playing and see what happens . . . maybe it’ll happen this week.”
Holland (2-1) was involved in a frantic finish Thursday morning, answering Scott’s eighth-end deuce with two points of her own to go ahead 6-5 after nine ends, then stealing two more in the 10th after Scott’s final brick was heavy on a draw to the eight-foot ring.
“Frantic. That seems to be the word for us right now,” laughed Holland, whose Kronau Curling Club rink includes third Kim Schneider, second Tammy Schneider, and lead Heather Kalenchuk. “The win is always good . . . we’re still not playing as sharp as we need to, so we need to pick it up to make sure we’re there at the end of the week.
“Kelly’s team is a good team. You know they’re not giving up, and they’re always going to make shots,” added Holland, who was up 3-1 after four ends on the strength of third- and fourth-end steals of one. “I wasn’t finishing off the ends very well. We had some opportunities I didn’t make.
“But the ones I made counted. We actually had a lot of opportunities to stick it to ’em early and we just kept on going deep . . . (but) I had a great draw on my last rock (to score those critical two in the ninth). Those are key shots that you need to make; I was quite happy to make that one.”
Draw 6 at the Canada Cup begins at 1:30 p.m. MT at The Arena. Nichols (0-3) meets 2010 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard (1-1) of Calgary, while 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink (2-0) of Calgary clashes with Lawton.
In men’s action, Winnipeg’s Stoughton (0-2) plays Koe, Fowler (0-2) crosses swords with another winless rink headed by Calgary’s Brent Bawel (0-2), and defending Olympic gold medallist Kevin Martin (2-0) squares off against another unbeaten outfit, Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen (2-0).