Canada’s Homan closing in on playoff berth at Worlds
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The skip’s voice rasped and there was fatigue in her face.
Rachel Homan and her Ottawa Curling Club team were ready to put their feet up for an evening and a morning at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship after three straight wins, one of them a white-knuckler.
“Oh my god, so ready. I can’t wait to not curl for 24 hours,” Homan said Wednesday. “I feel like it’s midnight, so it will be nice to get a break.”
The Canadians arrived at a break in the schedule tied atop the standings with Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher at 8-1.
The Canadians reverted to their custom of both taking the lead and finishing a game early in a 10-3 win over South Korea’s Ji-sun Kim, who shook hands after eight ends.
But Canada went the distance in the morning draw. They stole three points over the final two ends to rescue a 7-5 win over Germany’s Imogen Oona Lehmann.
That was the first time Homan threw her final stone at the world championship and just the second time Canada played a 10th end in Saint John.
They’d beaten Scotland the previous evening and were back on the Harbour Station ice in the morning.
“It was a long haul, three games in a row on not much sleep and a big grind this morning against Germany,” Homan said.
Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Alison Kreviazuk and lead Lisa Weagle headed to dinner with family members feeling confident about their position. Canada concludes the round robin Thursday against China and Sweden.
“Two great teams,” Miskew said.
Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson and Russia’s Anna Sidorova were both 7-2 followed by China’s Liu Sijia and South Korea tied at 6-3 and Allison Pottinger of the U.S. at 5-4.
Scotland’s Kerry Barr and Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic were 2-7 with Germany, Latvia’s Evita Regza and Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont at 1-8.
The top four teams in the preliminary round advance to the Page playoff. Ties for fourth will be solved by tie-breaker games. The countries with the two best records meet in one playoff game Friday with the winner advancing directly to Sunday’s gold-medal game.
The loser drops to Saturday afternoon’s semifinal to meet the winner of a morning playoff between the third and fourth seeds.
“We have our fate in our own hands,” Homan said. “We’ve got to win out and see what happens with everybody else.”
The Canadians, all 28 years old or younger, couldn’t hide their pleasure at the prospect of sleeping in Thursday morning.
They intended to stop in at the tournament party room before bed Wednesday “because there’s a band there ’Signal Hill’ that we like,” Miskew said.
“They’ve come to Ottawa and we usually go and watch them in Ottawa.”
Canada scored three points in the fourth and stole three in the eighth versus South Korea.
Pyeongchang, South Korea, is the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Kim is among the country’s female curlers getting fast-tracked to compete.
The 26-year-old skipped South Korea to fourth at the 2012 world championship in Lethbridge, Alta. She beat Canada’s Heather Nedohin in a playoff game, but lost the semifinal and lost the bronze-medal rematch to Nedohin.
Kim threw third stones against Homan with Un-chi Gim, her lead in Lethbridge, throwing fourth stones. With the score tied 2-2, the South Koreans played conservatively in the fourth end by putting up guards early on a counter on the button.
But Miskew’s well-executed draw around a guard forced them to chase. South Korea’s poorly-placed draws opened the door for Canada to plant more counters around the button. Homan had an easy tap for three points and a 5-2 lead in front of 1,726 at Harbour Station.
“Not good,” Kim said. “We were a little nervous.”
Canada recovered from errors against Germany to grind out a win.
The Germans led 5-4 heading into the ninth, when Homan and Lehmann shifted momentum back and forth with misses. Lehmann overthrew an attempted double takeout with hammer to leave Canada shot rock for a steal of one.
Miskew put guards in front of a Kreviazuk draw to the button in 10th and German third Corinna Scholz missed an attempted hit and roll behind cover.
Homan struggled with draws in the earlier ends, but she had it solved by the 10th as she drew in to stack two Canadian counters on the button.
Lehmann cleared just one and Homan buried a draw behind a guard to lie two again. The German skip’s attempt to follow her didn’t curl enough.
“You’ve got to be confident and believe you can steal because there’s no other way, there’s no other option,” Homan said.
“It was just tough out there. We weren’t quite reading things right. There were a lot of uncharacteristic misses. We just tried to figure out our rocks and our lines. We just had to keep playing a little bit better each end and hope for a few lucky breaks and we made it out in the end.”