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Homan, Hasselborg stay undefeated to clinch playoff berths at KIOTI National

PICTOU COUNTY, N.S. — Rachel Homan secured a spot in the KIOTI National playoffs after hammering Kerri Einarson 7-2 in only five ends Thursday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.

Homan’s team bounced back after missing the cut last month in the HearingLife Tour Challenge and qualified this time for Saturday’s quarterfinals with a red-hot 3-0 record and a game in hand.

“We’re very excited,” said Tracy Fleury, who throws third for Team Homan and shot a game-high 95 per cent. “I feel like we have a good handle of the ice out there, making lots of shots and feeling pretty confident.”

The Ottawa-based club secured the hammer to start and the head start helped as Team Homan converted for deuce in the opening frame.

“It’s always nice starting the game with hammer and in control,” Fleury said. “We just tried to get our rocks in good spots, put a little bit of pressure on them and got a miss.”

Einarson, from Gimli, Man., drew for two in the second to make it all square. The 13-time Grand Slam women’s champion Homan regained the two-point lead right back in the third after pulling off a raise for another deuce.

Team Einarson (2-1) blanked the fourth end to retain the hammer but fell into deep trouble in the fifth with Team Homan sitting three including one hidden at the top of the button. Einarson attempted to come around and grab a big slice of the button, however, her shooter over-curled, veering right into the top counter to give up a steal of three and out came the handshakes.

“Rachel’s last, she made a great shot and the sweepers put it in the exact spot that we wanted,” Fleury said. “That forced Kerri into a really hard shot.”

Meanwhile, Anna Hasselborg also clinched a berth into the quarterfinals following a 9-3 rout over Isabella Wranå in a battle between Swedish squads.

Hasselborg raced out of the gate counting three points in the first. Wranå settled for a single in the second and Hasselborg took two in the third to lead 5-1.

Although Wranå matched with a deuce in the fourth, it was all Hasselborg from there with another three-ender in the fifth followed by a steal of one in the sixth to put the contest out of reach.

“It feels really, really great,” Hasselborg said. “It’s always a tough battle against our clubmates here in Canada. They’re a great team, so we knew we had to play our best and it was a really great game. We started off strong with a three in the first and it pretty much became our game.”

The rivalry between the two Sundbyberg-based teams intensified this season with Wranå edging Hasselborg in a qualifier series for the opportunity to represent Sweden next week in the European Championships.

“We always know they’re hunting us and now this year they’re going to the Europeans, so we’re chasing them a little bit,” Hasselborg said. “We’re so excited to be back in Slams. Last year we had a lot of different lineups and the Slam season didn’t go as we wanted. This year we’re on to something good. We love being here and the Slams mean so much to us. We put some focus into it and we’re having a lot of fun. I really enjoy being here.”

Only one of Homan or Hasselborg will keep their unblemished record intact though as they face off in the round-robin finale Friday night.

Halifax’s Team Christina Black improved to a 1-2 record to remain in the mix with an 8-1 win over Team Seung-Youn Ha from South Korea and Team Kate Cameron (1-2) also stayed in contention after defeating Team Kaitlyn Lawes 5-4.

Both Team Ha and Team Lawes were eliminated with 0-3 records.

KIOTI National: Scores/Standings | Draw Schedule | Broadcast Schedule


The KIOTI National continues with Draw 12 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet+ (Canada) and (international).


The KIOTI National is the second event of the Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … Each team plays four round-robin games with the top eight advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals. … The semifinals are also on tap Saturday with both finals scheduled for Sunday.