CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. — Rachel Homan is on cloud nine.
Homan and her Ottawa-based club defeated Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., 4-1 to win the Boost National championship and tied Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones for the most Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s titles at nine.
The team of Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle cashed in $30,000 from the $250,000 total purse and added 12 more points to their Pinty’s Cup lead. Not only does Boost sponsor the event they are also a major supporter of Team Homan making it a double win for the foursome.
“It’s amazing,” Homan said with a smile. “Boost is an amazing sponsor and it just feels so great to represent them and be able to win the Slam that they sponsor. … I’m really proud with my team with how they played all week and then again through the playoffs. We had a really strong run so we’re excited.
“We finally get a break for the holidays and a little bit of a recharge before we start our big month in January.”
It was the third consecutive GSOC final and second straight championship in the series for Homan, who has been on a fierce redemption tour since her team came up short at the Winter Olympics.
“It feels really good. We’ve worked really hard this year,” Homan said. “Obviously, a little bit disappointing after the Olympics. We didn’t do as well as we wanted to do for Canada, so we’re working as hard as ever and want to keep pushing the game and keep pushing ourselves. We’re just having a lot of fun right now.”
Homan now has her eyes on surpassing Jones for sole possession of first place on the all-time GSOC women’s winners list.
“We want to try and crack double digits before the year is up and I think we can definitely do that,” she said. “We’re excited to set that as our goal and to keep trying to win more games.”
Team Homan needed an extra end to edge Team Einarson to wrap up pool play with a 3-1 record and qualify for the playoffs. Homan topped Team Jacqueline Harrison in the quarterfinals and Jones in the semifinals.
Both skips had their names on the National already with Homan capturing the inaugural title in 2015 and Einarson earning the championship the following year with her previous squad.
Einarson formed a new crew this season with former skips Val Sweeting at third, Shannon Birchard at second and Briane Meilleur at lead and earned $18,000 in their first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling final together. The club, who have won four World Curling Tour titles already, went 2-2 in the round-robin and had to qualify out of a tiebreaker with authority trumping Team Jamie Sinclair 12-0 stealing all of their points over the course of just four ends. The No. 8 seed Einarson took down No. 1 Team Anna Hasselborg in the quarterfinals and Team Silvana Tirinzoni in the semis.
The final match was marred by missed opportunities on both sides. Homan, who opened with the hammer, left a point on the table in the second with an opportunity to hit and stick for a deuce but rolled out and settled for a single.
Team Homan gained their lost point back in the third though. Einarson split the rings with one rock on the right side and cluster of a couple on the left. Homan froze out the pair to lie shot stone and Einarson looked to a risky runback for a big reward. She connected with her guard, sending it into the house but didn’t get the right angle and took out her two instead to concede a point.
Einarson fell behind by three in the fourth. Homan’s last collided with a guard and Einarson made the double takeout on her final rock, but her shooter rolled up and over top to miss the third one at the edge of the eight-foot circle. Einarson still had another in a similar spot at the opposite of the house and out came the measuring stick but the point went to Homan.
Another steal in six made it a four-point gap and Einarson finally broke the shutout in seven but not without another error. With one in her pocket, Einarson had to draw fully into the eight-foot circle for her second point, but it didn’t hit the brakes in time and Miskew added some extra steam brushing it just far enough for it not to count.
Homan said it was huge to have the hammer coming home in the eighth end up by three points as she was able to run Einarson out of rocks.
“Even to get that force in seven was really big,” Homan said. “A little bit of a mistake from Einarson’s team but it was a tight game. A game of a couple shots here and there. It’s tough breaks, it was tough conditions and I’m not sure if she had a bad rock or what but they’re a great team and we’ll see them again a lot over this year.”
Earlier Sunday, Scotland’s Team Ross Paterson edged countrymen Team Bruce Mouat 4-3 in an extra end to win the men’s title. It was the first championship in the series for Team Paterson.
NOTES: The Boost National was the fourth event and second major of the 2018-19 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. … Hasselborg won the Princess Auto Elite 10 and Canadian Beef Masters back-to-back to start the season while Homan claimed the Tour Challenge. … The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling resumes after the holiday break in the New Year with the 2019 Meridian Canadian Open taking place Jan. 8-13 in North Battleford, Sask.