Unsung Chelsea Carey and her young team registered out of Morden, Man., remained the only undefeated team of seven starters at the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling on Wednesday at the Cranbrook RecPlex.Carey stunned two-time champion Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary 7-6 in an extra-end afternoon scuffle after thumping Rachel Homan of Ottawa 9-3 in its morning opener.
Ironically, the Carey outfit — second Kristen Foster hails from Morden, Carey and her other mates reside in Winnipeg — has drawn morning and afternoon qualifying games throughout this event. At home, the team plays every Tuesday night in a Morden men’s league.
“This was the start we were looking for,” said Carey following her second success on the RecPlex freeze.
“It was a little scary out there. We had a couple of bad shots. But we hung in there and pulled it out. It’s a good start, a long week, we look forward to tomorrow.”
Carey, 27, was particularly ecstatic about her team’s strong morning performance.
“It’s nice to start off like this. It’s sort of a monkey-off-your-back feeling. It’s such a tough field going in you know that you could easily go 0-and-6. We’ve lost to all these teams before.”
Conversely, she’s beaten them all, too.
“We’re very familiar with each other,” she admitted. “There are no surprises here. We all play each other practically every weekend. But this is an extraordinarily tough field.”
The veteran Kleibrink required a spectacular 10th-end runback split-double takeout to stay in the afternoon game but left Carey with a routine draw for the win in overtime.
A two-time Canada Cup champion, Kleibrink bounced back with a vengeance on the night shift, issuing an even more spectacular double-double shot with her last rock to preserve a 9-7 win over four-time Canadian champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg.
“A double-double,” agreed Kleibrink. “The way it was set up, they’d both go.”
Jones had succeeded in burying a pair of stones trailing by one in the 10th without the hammer.
“I don’t think we would have gotten just one and gone an extra end,” added the veteran Calgary skip. “You either make it or miss it. We were in trouble and then (third) Amy’s (Nixon’s) shot was a quarter-inch from being perfect and ran their rock in leaving us in double trouble.
“We had to make sure we came out of there 1-and-1. We controlled that game, I thought.”
Jones had won her opener, 9-6 over Heather Nedohin of Edmonton, during the afternoon shift.
Nedohin kept pace until the Winnipeggers cracked a four-ender in the seventh end.
“It really wasn’t necessary that we win,” offered Jones, “but I was happy with way we played. With the exception of one end I thought we played well.”
All three finished Day One at 1-1 along with Ottawa’s Rachel Homan and defending Canadian champion Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask.
Holland stole two in the ninth end which proved the difference in a 7-5 win over cross-province rival Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon.
Lawton, the defending champion, lost her first two games of the tourney. She earlier yielded an extra-end steal in a 7-6 loss to Nedohin.
“It’s not the start we were looking for but we can definitely come back from this,” Lawton said. “We’ve been 0-and-2 before in other events and have come back to win so we know we can come out firing now and do it again
“I think we’re making things a little too complex for ourselves. We need to make some big shots. Also more shots. We’re making it tough on ourselves. We have to make it easier.”
Homan issued a stronger performance in the evening but needed an extra end to defeat Holland 10-7.
It was good for us to get a win and get it on the board,” assessed Homan.
“We had a strong game and it was very important to get that first one. I think it’s going to be neck and neck here with a lot of wins and a lot of losses. It’s such a good calibre field — whoever wins, it won’t be surprise.”
The Holland-Lawton affair was a tight fit until Lawton, looking at a threatening steal by Holland in the ninth end, wound up bumping her opponent in for another counter which tore the issue.
“It was good to get out there and get a good feel for the ice,” said the Canadian champ. “And obviously the win. We played a pretty good game. We have a comfort level in the arena, we love playing on this ice. But I think most of the teams here do.
“We’ve always had good battles (with Lawton) and I think we’re about even in terms of wins and losses. It doesn’t matter where you get the W as long as it’s a W.”
Nedohin’s theft from Lawton transpired in the 11th end when Saskatoon vice-skip Sherry Anderson narrowly missed a raise takeout in crowded rings.
That allowed Nedohin to seal off the front leaving Lawton tough draws, neither of which came off.
“It’s like we expect all games are going to be,” Nedohin said. “The 10th end, an extra end. It’s Day One, Game One, good outcome.
“It’s like any curling match here, it’s no longer a matter of inches, it’s a matter of millimetres. You curl across Canada against this calibre of team every second weekend and this is what you get used to.”