The veterans had hoped to teach the young ones a lesson but it took a tight final end before Sherry Middaugh prevailed over a squad skipped by Kelsey Rocque, the youngest competitor in the Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, which began Wednesday.
Middaugh’s foursome from Coldwater, Ont., stole a point in the 10th end to down Rocque’s Edmonton team 7-5 in the second draw to move to 2-0. Middaugh opened the Home Hardware Canada Cup by downing reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg 7-2 in the morning.
“You always like to at least split [on opening day]. Team Middaugh usually goes 0-2 and then have to grind it out towards the end of the week,” said Middaugh. “So it’s nice to go 2-0 because every game is tough. The top teams are here and it’s not easy. You do have to give yourself a chance. We do have the rest of the field, but to go 2-0 is great.”
All of Middaugh’s team members (165 years) are older than everyone on Rocque’s squad (93). Rocque is the young pup at 21, third Laura Crocker is 25, second Taylor McDonald 22 and lead Jen Gates 25.
“They’re young and they’re good. It’s hard because I’m thinking ‘Yeah, I could be their mom.’ (Rocque is) very young and she’s very experienced with juniors (2014 and 2015 World Champion) and everything else. She walked right into ladies and is playing fantastic. But, you know, everyone’s young out here.”
In her first game, Rocque made a last-rock takeout in the 10th end to score two for a 7-6 victory over Winnipeg’s Kristy McDonald.
However she won her her second game downing Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., 7-3. But it didn’t start out well. McDonald was facing five with her final shot in the first end but managed to escape just giving up a steal of one.
“I think that really lifted us because once we realized, ‘Oh my gosh we only gave up one’ that really just lifted us up,” said McDonald. “Then we got our three two ends later and we just went with it. You’ve got to survive those ends if you want to win here.”
In men’s play, 2014 Olympic champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., survived a see-saw game with defending Tim Hortons Brier champion Pat Simmons of Calgary to score a single in the 10th end for a 7-6 victory in his opening game. Simmons fell to 1-1.
It was a big win for Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden after they gave up steals in the first two ends.
“I’m just proud of the way the guys hung in there. We made all the necessary shots that we had to make to get a two in the third end,” said Jacobs. “We made it a goal of ours to win the Canada Cup and that’s what we’re here to do. We’ve done everything we can to prepare for this event. Mentally we’re all in a good head space. This year we wanted to win the Canada Cup and we’re going to play as hard as we can to accomplish that goal.”
In his opening game for both teams on Draw 2, Calgary’s Kevin Koe scored a three in the ninth end to defeat current World Curling Tour leader Brad Gushue of St. John’s 8-5.
Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock evened his record at 1-1 by scoring two in the tenth to edge Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg 7-6.
The men’s and women’s winners here will receive a berth into the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials. They’ll also qualify to play for Team North America at the 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, in Las Vegas, Jan. 14-17.
The Home Hardware Canada Cup continues with a draw today at 6:30 p.m. (all times MST).
TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Hardware Canada Cup. Click here for the complete schedule
The Home Hardware Canada Cup format calls for the men’s and women’s teams to play a three-day round robin, with the first-place teams advancing to their respective finals on Sunday, while the second- and third-place teams meet in semifinals on Saturday, after any required tiebreakers, to determine the other finalists.
For ticket information for the 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, go to www.curling.ca/2015canadacup/tickets/
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2015canadacup/?lang=fr