Stefanie Lawton can now count the defending champions among her victims at the Capital One Canada Cup curling competition.
The Saskatoon skip improved to 4-0 Thursday with a 7-5 win over Team Jones in Draw 5 action. Trailing 3-2 after Kaitlyn Lawes and her Winnipeg rink put up a deuce in the fourth end, Lawton came back with two in the sixth and two in the eighth before capping the victory with a point in the 10th.
"There's no breathing room," said Lawton. "We just keep going. Every win is a big one."
It was Lawton's second close win of the day. Earlier, she needed an extra end to defeat Winnipeg's Chelsea Carey 6-5.
"We had some missed opportunities, and it was back and forth [against Lawes]" said Lawton. "We struggled for the first five for sure. The ice was slightly different from this morning and we were adjusting again. We made a few adjustments after the fifth and things went well from there."
Lawton's early success in Moose Jaw is moving her closer to a possible Olympic berth. The winner of both the men's and women's tournaments will receive one of the six automatic qualification spots for the 2013 Roar of the Rings — the tournament that will determine who advances to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
Team Jones is being skipped by Lawes in place of Jennifer Jones, who gave birth to a baby girl two weeks ago and is also recovering from knee surgery. The team took another step back in Draw 6, losing 8-3 to Heather Nedohin of Sherwood Park, Alta., to drop to 2-2. Nedohin meanwhile moved into second place at 3-1.
In the other late match, Carey (1-3) got her first win of the tournament 7-4 against Winnipeg's Cathy Overton-Clapham (0-4).
Stoughton, McEwen atop men's leaderboard
In men's action, Winnipeg natives Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen remain tied atop the leaderboard at 4-0.
Stoughton beat winless Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., 9-5, while McEwen defeated Olympic champion Kevin Martin 8-6.
"We thought 3-1 would be awesome after the first two days," said McEwen. "We're pretty pumped with where we are, and if we play well tomorrow, maybe have a chance at first place."
Edmonton's Martin, the defending Canada Cup champion, is struggling with a 1-3 record. Only Gushue is worse at 0-4.
In the other late men's game, Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont., crushed Kevin Koe 12-4, leaving both rinks at 2-2.
"It's such a tough field," said Howard. "We didn't play at all well yesterday and it showed — we went [0-2]. Today we came back, regrouped. Bottom line, we talked about it and said let's have some fun. We went out there and made a ton more shots.
"We're back to 2-2 right in the hunt again."