The first draw of the day on Thursday - the fourth draw of the event - saw Brad Gushue bounce back in a big way in the Home Hardware Canada Cup while a large entourage provided the cheers for Rachel Homan.
Trading points with Team Epping through the first three ends, a big 5 points in the fourth let Gushue jump out to a 7-2 lead. At that point, Epping called it quits, conceding 7-2 after 6 ends to Gushue for their first loss of the tournament, Gushue's second victory.
"It feels good," the happy fourth said afterwards, "John's (Epping) team, they're very good and to do it in quick fashion where we can get a little bit of rest before the afternoon game...it's certainly nice to get that hour's extra rest."
Several solid draws gave them angles in their favor in that fateful fourth end, whilst Epping just slightly over-curled on a risky shot to only improve the odds for Gushue. The latter noted that his crew is beginning to feel comfortable with their game in Affinity Place.
"We really struggled last night with our set of rocks, we didn't feel liike we were able to get a pair that were the same, and that's not typical for our team...we knew today coming in we were more comfortable with the rocks that we had and what we could expect from them, and when we know what to expect we can make some shots."
Meanwhile the undefeated Brad Jacobs took on a winless Team Carruthers. By the seventh end the pair had only reached a 3-2 count in favor of Carruthers, but the undefeated Jacobs strung together several single point ends to take a narrow 5-4 victory, bringing it to the wire with a well swept shot to remain solely in the win column (3-0) and keep Carruthers shut out.
With a large number of young, screaming fans to back her up, Rachen Homan put in several strong ends against Team Walker, creating a 7-3 lead by the seventh end. Walker took their third straight loss of the event in the tenth end, 8-3 to Homan.
"We split the first day, so you want to make sure that you're staying above .500 early in the week. It was really important to get back on track," said Homan's second, Joanne Courtney, "We played a good game last night, we just let it slip away a little bit a the end. We're just trying to learn the ice and focus on what we need to do to keep getting better, and figure it out by the end of the week."
Courtney is also the 'Classroom Champion' for Weyburn St. Michael School's Grade 7 class, who were the source of exuberant cheering for their distance mentor's team.
"It's awesome. We played afternoon, evening and then morning, so we're pretty much back to back to back. It was an extra bit of enthusiasm and energy, it didn't feel like a morning draw at all. We really loved all their cheers for us, like a fifth player for us out there."
Jennifer Jones and her crew were only able to find a single point throughout the first seven ends of the draw against Einarson, and two more in the ninth. Einarson kept a steady defensive edge to knock off Jones in her first loss of the tournament, 6-3.
Scheidegger and Carey exchanged points throughout the game, the former usually keeping no more than a point ahead of Carey until the fourth end, where the latter began to string together some larger ends to a 5-4 edge by the seventh end. Carey found two more in the ninth to gain their first win, and give Scheidegger their first loss, 7-6.
Draw 5 gets under way Thursday afternoon at 2:00 PM, as Flaxey takes on Carey, Robertson plays Walker, Dunstone faces Jacobs, Bottcher goes up against Gushue and Koe plays Epping.