EDMONTON - MEDICINE HAT – She had the guts of a burglar.
Indeed, Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon stole the show from the girls who stole the hearts of so many Canadians in winning a silver medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Lawton stole 24 points, including four in the final — a steal of three in the seventh end killing to seal the deal — and producing a 7-3 win over Cheryl Bernard’s Olympians from Calgary in the final of the Canada Cup.
“That’s what I hear,” said Lawton when she left the ice. “I didn’t realize we’d stolen so many points.
“But, yes. That’s the way we’re playing games this year. We just go out there, play the game the way we can, and put the pressure on the other teams to make a great shot,” said the skip who stole three in the Page playoff win over Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont. and three more in the semifinal win over Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink in games Saturday to get to the final.
“They were always getting rocks in there and we were always chasing and weren’t quite making it. You’ve got to be the other way around with them,” said Bernard of her team of Susan O’Connor, Carolyn Darbyshire and Cori Morris.
Lawton, who won $28,200 with the win, plus a spot in next year’s Canada Cup and the 2012 Continental Cup, is curling this year with veteran Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson playing third.
And that’s probably the real story of what happened here as she matched Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary, the 2002 Olympic bronze-medal winner, as the only two skips who have managed to win two Canada Cups.
Having the 46-year-old Anderson around has put a smile on her face and turned her into a thief.
“I think adding Sherry keeps Stefanie really calm,” said Bernard. “She looked so relaxed.”
Lawton said it’s working.
“She’s a very calming influence on all of us,” she said of front end teammates Sherri Singler and Marliese Kasner.
“It’s a different team this year with Sherry playing third and it’s a great feeling to come out here to play as well as we did and shoot as well as we did.”
Anderson, the skip of four Saskatchewan title teams out of Delisle, the first dating back 17 years, has made it to six Scotties Tournament of Hearts if you count two as an alternate.
“I don’t look at this as stepping down,” she said when the team hit Canada’s sunniest city back at the start of the week, sweeping for a 30-year-old skip who was 13 when she won the province for the first time.
Not too many longtime skips would want to be out there sweeping four rocks an end at that age.
“I don’t mind sweeping,” said Anderson.
It’s the age when most curlers consider calling it a career.
“The word retirement has never come out of my mouth. When Stef had called me to ask me to play for her, I thought about it and decided, why not?”
That wasn’t her first reaction, mind you.
“My first thought was that I couldn’t play third for her. I’m a skip. She’s a skip. And I knew she wanted to skip and there’s no sense her not skipping.
“Then I hung up the phone and told my husband what the conversation was all about and he said ‘Well, why not?’
“I started thinking about it and I thought ‘Yeah, well really, why not? There’s no reason I can’t play another position. And I’m enjoying it. As a skip, it’s kind of lonely at times. So I’m enjoying that part of it.”
They’d been together before. Anderson attended the 2005 Scotties as Lawton’s alternate.
Lawton said there are no plans past the end of this year with her aging sweeper. But they’re off to a good run.
“I think we’ve got the makings of a great team.
“We’re pretty excited. We’re walking off the ice after winning this and we really wanted to keep playing.”
There’s a whole season ahead for that now.