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).
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."