It was feast or famine for Teams Manitoba at the opening day of the Canada Cup of Curling in Moose Jaw, Sask., on Wednesday.
Jeff Stoughton, Mike McEwen and Jennifer Jones's team all opened at 2-0, while Chelsea Carey and Cathy Overton-Clapham opened at 0-2.
The Jones foursome, playing without their namesake, who is recuperating after giving birth Nov. 13, won 9-7 over Calgary's Crystal Webster on the opening draw, then defeated Overton-Clapham 9-6 last night.
The win over Webster was a wild one as the Jones team jumped out to a 7-2 lead, then barely hung on for the win. Skip Kaitlyn Lawes shot just 51 per cent in the win as she struggled with draw weight, but she was unconcerned afterward.
"It's tough to keep a lead like that in a 10-end game. They put a lot more pressure on us, but we still squeaked it out," Lawes said by phone afterward. "I got caught throwing on a couple of different paths, but I actually felt pretty good throwing out there."
Overton-Clapham had a miserable day, losing to Jones last night while also losing 8-5 to Ontario's Sherry Middaugh on the afternoon draw in a game in which she trailed 5-0 after just two ends.
Carey had the same schedule as Overton-Clapham and posted the same result, losing 7-4 to Webster in the afternoon, then storming back from a 7-1 deficit against reigning Canadian women's champion Heather Nedohin last night, only to come up just short and lose 9-7 on a last-rock draw to the four-foot by Nedohin.
In addition to Jones, Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton is the only other team still undefeated in the seven-team women's field.
On the men's side, Stoughton was delighted to emerge with two wins on a day that saw him beat reigning world champion Glenn Howard 9-5 on the morning draw, then defeat this season's hottest team on the cashspiel circuit, Kevin Koe, 7-5 last night.
"There's no easy games out here, that's for sure. We knew that we'd have to get off to a good start and there's nothing better than getting a win in your first game off a guy like Howard," Stoughton said after his win in the morning.
McEwen. meanwhile, kicked off his event with an 8-2 thrashing of Newfoundland's Brad Gushue on the afternoon draw that included some controversy. McEwen broke open a 2-2 tie with a three-ender in the sixth end that was set up when Gushue's final stone of the end was removed for a hogline violation. The 2006 Olympic gold medallist made multiple appeals to Canadian Curling Association representatives that the hogline detection lights on the offending stone were functioning improperly, but that was found not to be the case. McEwen then came back out for the evening draw and beat Howard 7-6.
Stoughton and McEwen head into Day 2 as the only undefeated teams still remaining in the seven-team men's field.
-- Paul Wiecek