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This article was published 30/11/2016 (204 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Steve Laycock entered the Home Hardware Canada Cup of Curling as a darkhorse and through two games he has proved to be more than that.
The Saskatoon skip jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three ends over defending men's champion Kevin Koe in Draw 3 after a nifty hit and roll to score to in the second and a steal of one in three. Koe would get to within a point, trimming Laycock's advantage to 4-3 with a deuce in six but like he did all night, Laycock poured a ton of rocks into the rings in the seventh end and put up a four-ender that led to a 9-5 win and a 2-0 start.
He beat Brandon product Mike McEwen earlier in the day with a single in the 10th end.
In the other men's contest, also a battle between 1-0 teams, Winnipeg's Reid Carruthers was constantly behind the eight ball against the Mark Nichols-led Brad Gushue team until two points in the ninith end pulled him even heading home. But Nichols collected his single in 10 for a 7-6 win to join Laycock atop the standings after Day 1.
Carruthers, Koe and Brad Jacobs sit at 1-1, while McEwen and John Epping remain winless.
Of the three women's games played, the only tight one went to an extra end with Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., getting past Val Sweeting 7-6.
The Edmonton skip, who has been in the Canada Cup final each of the last two years, winning it in 2014, is one of two women's teams at 0-2. Kelsey Rocque, who also heils from the Alberta capital, is the other after she was thumped 11-5 by Chelsea Carey of Calgary.
Carey scored opened with four in the first and added three more in three and another three in five to take a 10-2 lead to the break. They shook hands after eight ends.
But the surprise of the day — even more so than Laycock — is that of Kerri Einarson.
Last season's Manitoba Scotties champion followed up her 8-5 win over Sweeting in Draw 1 by deposing of defending champion Rachel Homan by the same score. In both games, the Winnipeg skip, who sits 55th in the World Curling Tour money rankings — lowest among all 14 teams in Brandon — used a bevy of stolen points to emerge as a contender heading into Thursday's action.
Einarson and fellow Winnipeg-based skip Jennifer Jones are 2-0, while Homan, Carey and Fleury sit at 1-1.
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