CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. — Team Rachel Homan did what Team Rachel Homan does: reach the final at a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event.
The Ottawa club clinched a spot in their third consecutive championship game in the series after ousting Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones 6-2 during the Boost National semifinals Saturday at CBS Arena.
Team Homan now faces Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., who eliminated Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni 8-3.
“It’s amazing,” said skip Rachel Homan. “Boost is such a great sponsor of ours, so we’re really proud to be able to represent them really well and hopefully, we can bring out our best game tomorrow and hopefully, it’s good enough.”
The foursome of Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle were finalists at the Canadian Beef Masters in October, falling to Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg, and captured the Tour Challenge Tier 1 in November defeating Team Tracy Fleury. It was Homan’s eighth career championship in the series and closed the gap to one behind Jones for most Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s titles earned all-time.
“It’s been quite a grind, two weeks in a row,” said Homan, who entered the Boost National straight from finishing third last weekend in the Canada Cup, “so we’re really excited to be able to pull together and string some really good games together as a team and be able to make the final.”
Homan counted three points in the second end and never looked back. The geometry was all lined up for Homan to redirect off one Jones stone and into the pile to push aside another and score her trey.
“We did what Team Homan does, for sure,” Homan said with a smile. “It was a great team shot. It was a huge line call. Brushers had to be right there every second and it was a really great three to start the game and we just continued through with that momentum.”
The teams traded singles in three and four and Homan extended her lead to 5-1 in the fifth on a steal. Jones had to make a high-pressure draw against four counters in the sixth for another lonely point and Homan replied with a single in seven to finish the game.
Meanwhile, Einarson broke a 2-2 tie big time with a five-count in the fifth that created the insurmountable advantage. Similar to the other semi, Tirinzoni was only able to add a single in six and Einarson matched in seven for early handshakes.
Einarson won the Boost National in 2016, however, that was with her old team that has now linked up with Fleury. The “all-skip squad” of Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur joined forces this season and jumped out of the gate winning four World Curling Tour titles.
“We’re really excited for tomorrow,” Sweeting said. “We had a long day today with three games, but we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Team Einarson had a tough Saturday as they finished pool play with a 2-2 record and needed to grind out three wins in consecutive draws on the day in order to secure their spot in the finals. Einarson trumped Team Jamie Sinclair of the United States 12-0 stealing all her points in four ends in the tiebreaker and then topped No. 1 seed Hasselborg 8-3 in the quarterfinals.
“I think it’s really good for our team and confidence boosting,” Sweeting said. “The girls have been playing really well the last couple weeks now that we’ve been on the road now, so it’s definitely good.”
Team Homan will have the choice of either hammer or rock colours to start the final thanks to their superior round-robin record. Homan, who needed an extra end to edge Einarson 6-5 during pool play, qualified for the playoffs at 3-1 and brushed off Toronto’s Jacqueline Harrison 6-4 during the quarters.
Homan expects more of the same in order to get past Einarson a second time.
“Our games today, they were really good,” Homan said. “Obviously, a couple mistakes out there, so we’re going to learn from those and keep moving forward as a team and try to grind out one more win.”
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It’ll be an all-Scottish final on the men’s side with defending men’s champions Team Bruce Mouat taking on compatriots Team Ross Paterson. The No. 1 seed Team Mouat extended their unbeaten streak in the event to six games by scoring two in the eighth end to clip Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe 6-5. Paterson reached his first-ever Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling final by nipping Team Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont., 7-6 in an extra end.
The men’s final goes down Sunday at 1:30 p.m. NT / Noon ET (CBC) followed by the women’s final at 5:30 p.m. NT / 4 p.m. ET (Sportsnet East, Ontario, Pacific and Sportsnet ONE).
NOTES: The Boost National is the fourth event and second major of the 2018-19 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. … Winners of the Boost National collect $30,000 of the $250,000 total purse plus berths to the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season finale Humpty’s Champions Cup. … Points are also on the line for the Pinty’s Cup, which is awarded to the overall season champions following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April. … All games are played to eight ends with 33 minutes of thinking time plus two, 90-second timeouts. The five-rock rule is also in effect.