A showdown between two of the biggest names in curling took center stage during Thursday night's draw six of the Home Hardware Canada Cup.
Jennifer Jones squared off with Rachel Homan and quickly took a dominating hold on the game. Although kept off the scoreboard in the first end, she made up for it with two points in the second, three in the third and another three in the fifth end to lead 8-2 halfway in. Homan eventually conceded in the eighth end to Jones, 9-5.
"It's really hard to maintain a lead, and I thought we did that quite well. We never really gave them a chance to make a big end against us. That was big, and we made some big draws when we had to," she said afterwards. While keeping a team such as Homan contained played a part, Jones expressed that they have to look at any team like any other.
"To be honest, you just kind of approach them all the same. They're all great teams here, Rachel's obviously won a few games, so they're a great team and we have a ton respect for them, but we have a respect for everybody here. We know we're going to have to play our best."
Einarson and Robertson traded points until the seventh end, where the latter picked up two and then added two more in the eighth and ninth. However, Einarson had the hammer, and she brought it down in the tenth to steal 3 for an 8-7 win.
Scheidegger launched out to a large advantage over Flaxey with three points in the first end and took up residence in the house. She scored two more in the second and then four in the fifth end to lead 9-1. While the ice was refreshed, Flaxey took time to talk strategy and returned to pick up a point in the sixth end. But that would be about it, as Scheidegger forced Flaxey to concede in eighth with a 12-2 lead.
"(It's) super big," said Scheidegger's third, Cary-Anne McTaggert over the win. She noted they had to put the morning's loss behind them in order to advance.
"We talked about what we had to do, parked it, had a real good nap...and moved on. That's all you've got to do to get better and bounce back."
Einarson leads the women with three wins and a loss, along with Scheidegger and Jennifer Jones, all at 3-1. Homan and Carey sit at 2-2 while Flaxey, Walker and Robertson take up the bottom three positions in the standings, at 1-3.
The winless Team Carruthers faced Koe, who were fresh off a victory in the afternoon draw. The only point gained in the extremely tight defensive display through six ends was a single marker for Koe in the fourth. He found two more points in the eighth end while Carruthers only picked up one in the seventh. The final score would be 4-1 Koe for his second of the day.
Meanwhile, Matt Dunstone was searching for his first win of the tournament and found it to elude him once again, though as before, not without a fight. Bottcher found two points in the third end, followed by two for Dunstone in the fourth. Bottcher found three more through the next two ends, to lead 5-2 after the sixth. The pair would trade points with Dunstone never far behind, but Bottcher picked up an extra point in the tenth end for an 8-6 victory, handing Dunstone his fourth loss of the tournament.
"We'll just go out there tomorrow (Friday), have some fun and see if we can hopefully come away with two," he said, resigned to the fact that his crew will not be seeing the playoffs. However, he's happy that the team made it as far as the championship, given they're status as a brand new unit on the ice. In their final two games in Affinity Place, they plan on enjoying the crowd.
"Every time we've walked into the arena, people have been stopping us to say hi and wish us the best of luck. We've felt nothing but support like we expected out of Saskatchewan."
Dunstone sits at the bottom of the pack in the men's standings at 0-4. Topping the group is Jacobs with all four wins, followed by Bottcher (3-1) bolstered by two Thursday victories, overtaking Gushue, who dropped to 2-2. Epping is just below Gushue at 2-2, while the winless Carruthers sits a spot above Dunstone.
Draw seven gets underway Friday morning at 9:00 AM as Einarson takes on Scheidegger, Jones plays Flaxey, Bottcher goes up against Koe, Dunstone plays Carruthers, and Robertson squares off with Homan.