A pair of proven champs in the Canada Cup, women’s division, each racked up a pair of victories after Day One of the $150,000 curling event at the Medicine Hat Arena.
In the second women’s draw on Wednesday night, defending champion Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary, fresh from a cashspiel victory two days earlier in Lloydminster, won her second of the piece, 8-4 over rookie Chelsea Carey of Morden, Man.
Defending Canadian champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, with new third Kaitlyn Lawes in tow, clobbered Shelley Nichols of St. John’s 10-3 in a matter of eight ends, the same required of Saskatoon’s Stefanie Lawton in a 13-3 disposal of former world champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna.
Thunder Bay’s Krista McCarville rounded out the lineup of unbeaten skips. McCarville trailed Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard 6-3 after seven ends but outscored the Calgary unit 5-1 over the last three panels for an 8-7 decision.
Trailing by two playing the 10th, McCarville wound up with an open eight-foot draw for a winning three after Bernard twice rolled out on takeout attempts.
“We just tried to show her some difficult shots once we got down,” said McCarville. “We fought back. We didn’t get down. Maybe the result was better than we could have expected at the halfway point.”
Elsewhere, Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., scored an unanswered four points in the last three ends to overhaul Heather Nedohin of Edmonton, 7-6.
“That was an important win for us,” said Holland. “You don’t want to start an event like this with an 0-and-2 record.”
Holland and Bernard split the day’s decisions while Nedohin, Scott, Carey and Nichols remained winless.
“I don’t know what the secret is because we played terrible that game,” said Kleibrink. “We just got lucky a few times. Somebody’s smiling on us right now.
“We love to play on arena ice, that’s the thing,” she assessed of her Canada Cup successes.
Something else. The team has reduced its schedule and is playing only Alberta events this season.
“And we’re on a 15-game win streak,” said Kleibrink with a satisfied smile. “We won Red Deer and Lloyd. We just decided to play the Alberta tour this year. I wasn’t sure if the team would do the same or want to go real hard but I wasn’t going to travel out the province. Turned out we were all on the same page. Everyone wanted an off year.
“We thought the light schedule might adversely affect our play but so far so good. We’re certainly not burnt out, that’s for sure. We’re ready to go every time we play because we get a month off in between.”
McCarville’s Thunder Bay team, too, is playing a light schedule but practising plenty.
“We’re still playing once a week against the men but the last four weekends we’ve been ‘spieling, getting ready for this,” she said. “But we practise a lot and that’s good for us because I’m having a little bit of trouble getting time off work (teaching four-year-olds). We said we’re going to have to practise a lot, sometimes an hour long, and we need to do it to be at this calibre because we’re missing out on a lot of big ‘spiels.”
Scott is skipping yet another team on a reduced competitive schedule.
“We haven’t slowed down for seven seasons and in all honesty we were tuckered out,” she said. “So as hard as it is watching other teams travelling and piling up points and money we know in the long run it’s probably good for us.
“This is our first step on arena ice this season and it almost feels like a Scotties or Trials out there.”
In second-round men’s action later today at 8:30 p.m. MST, defending champion Kevin Martin faces young Mat Camm of Ottawa, Winnipeggers Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen collide, Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont., plays Brent Bawel of Calgary, Brier champion Kevin Koe, now of Calgary, tackles Rob Fowler of Brandon and Randy Ferbey’s Edmonton-Newfoundland combine plays Serge Reid of Jonquière, Que.