BRANDON, Man. — Brad Gushue's curling foursome is soaring without its skip, while defending champion Kevin Koe is struggling at the 2016 Canada Cup curling competition.
Gushue's St. John's, N.L., rink won its third straight match to open the tournament, stealing a point in the 10th end in a 7-6 win over Saskatoon's Steve Laycock (2-1) in Thursday's fifth draw.
Mark Nichols is calling the shots with Gushue back home rehabbing his hip and groin injury.
Calgary's Koe fell to 1-3 with a 7-6 loss to Reid Carruthers. The Winnipeg skip scored one in the 10th end to improve to 2-1.
Earlier, Koe was beaten 5-1 by defending Olympic champion Brad Jacobs (2-1) of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Winnipeg's Mike McEwen beat Toronto's John Epping 7-3 in Thursday's other men's morning matchup. McEwen improved to 1-2, while Epping fell to 0-3.
In women's Draw 5 action, Ottawa's Rachel Homan (3-1) held on for an 8-7 win over Edmonton's Kelsey Rocque (0-3), Edmonton's Val Sweeting (1-3) posted a 9-4 victory over Calgary's Chelsea Carey, and Tracy Fleury (2-2) of Sudbury, Ont., stole one in the 10th for an 8-7 win over Winnipeg's Kerri Einarson (2-1).
Earlier, Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones improved to 3-0 with a 12-6 win over Carey while Homan downed Fleury 6-4.
Draw 6 was set for later Thursday.
Winners will lock up spots in the Olympic Trials next year in Ottawa.
Jones, Koe and Homan are the only skips who have secured berths in the December 2017 event, which will determine Canada's representatives for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.