Team Jones golden so far at Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings

OTTAWA – Jennifer Jones currently owns the gold and she seems determined not to let any other team deter her from acquiring more of the precious metal.

The 2014 Olympic women’s curling gold medallist moved to 3-0 at the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Curling Trials by downing Toronto’s Allison Flaxey 10-5 at Canadian Tire Centre Sunday evening.

Judging by the play of Jones and her team of third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Jennifer Clark-Rouire, coach Wendy Morgan they seem bent on not letting any other Canadian team get a chance to bring home gold from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, two months from now.

The victory was their 17th in a row including the last two Grand Slam events. They are serving notice the road to Pyeongchang is going to go through the team from Winnipeg’s St. Vital Curling Club. Although it had all the appearances of a statement game, Lawes wasn’t seeing it that way.

“I don’t think about that at all, to be honest. We’re just trying to play it one game at a time and make it to the playoffs by the end of the week,” said Lawes. “To play our first three games in 24 hours and come out with three wins is huge for us. It’s such a tough field, so any win you can get is huge going into the rest of the week.”

Lawes did admit she thinks about their experience four years ago in Winnipeg at the Roar of the Rings when they qualified to represent Canada at Sochi.

“The nice thing is we’ve done it so it’s comfortable. We love to play in big events, and we get excited for that. So any opportunity that we’ve had to be able to play at this level is an honour. It is helpful to have had that experience and know that we can do it and we believe in that,” said Lawes.

Jones scored early and often to take a 6-2 lead to the fifth end break. But a flash on her last shot allowed Flaxey to score two in the sixth end and a failed double takeout for a blank had Jones giving up a steal in the seventh. But the win was sealed with a four in the eighth end.

Jones insists the team’s visible resolve isn’t any different than any from their competitors.

“Every team here wants to win this event, that’s no secret. It’s just a matter of keep plugging away. There’s a lot of the week left, and we’ll have to play a little bit better as the week goes on,” said Jones, who is more than happy to be atop the standings. “It’s a great place to be. We were hoping to get through with at least two wins out of the first three games and three is a bonus.”

Kevin Koe (below) watches his team’s shot as Reid Carruthers looks on behind him. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Keeping pace with Jones in the loss column at 2-0 is Calgary’s Chelsea Carey, who put a serious dent in Edmontonian Val Sweeting’s Olympic hopes handing her a third loss, 7-4. The only other undefeated women’s team is skipped by Lethbridge’s Casey Scheidegger, who is also 2-0.

In the other men’s game on the Sunday evening draw, Kevin Koe of Calgary remained undefeated by edging Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg (0-2) 6-5 in an extra end to sit atop the men’s draw at 3-0.

“You expect a lot of close games coming into this. We focused on that. Last year, every close game with good teams we seemed to have lost. This year we have definitely been doing better with that. This year it feels better to win a tight one,” said Koe, the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier and world men’s champion.

“In 2016 we pretty much won just about everything, most of the big events there was to win. You know what, we thought we were pretty much unbeatable back then. So it was a bit of an eye opener to struggle last year, and you know what, it definitely didn’t hurt because it showed us we still had a lot of work to do and it’s paying off.”

Mike McEwen of Winnipeg is the only other skip without a loss at 2-0.

Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock finally hit the win column on his team’s third try defeating Toronto’s John Epping (1-1) 7-4. For this event, Laycock has ceded last rock throwing duties to two-time Canadian junior champion Matt Dunstone, 22, who had been playing third. The move finally paid off with the victory which was fuelled by scores of three in the seventh and ninth ends.

The 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings continues with draws Monday at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times EST).

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings are available at TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule For ticket information for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, CLICK HERE. This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at