Canada’s Homan goes for gold at women’s curling championship

Alison Kreviazuk banged her broom in frustration a few times after missing shots in the preliminary round at the Ford Women’s World Curling Championship.

Canada 8 Switzerland 3

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Alison Kreviazuk banged her broom in frustration a few times after missing shots in the preliminary round at the Ford Women’s World Curling Championship.

Rachel Homan’s second had no reason to punish her broom Friday.

Kreviazuk’s showy raise triple takeouts in the third and fifth ends were key to Canada controlling their playoff game against Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher.

Homan followed up with impressive double takeouts in the eighth and ninth ends to cap an 8-3 win to send Canada to Sunday’s final.

“It’s all confidence right now,” Homan said. “We are feeling good.

“We are going to be nervous come the gold medal game, but it’s going to be a good thing. It means a lot to us and we want to bring back gold for Canada.”

Homan, third Emma Miskew, Kreviazuk and lead Lisa Weagle out of the Ottawa Curling Club will attempt to claim Canada’s first women’s world title since 2008, when Winnipeg Jennifer Jones won gold in Vernon, B.C.

Jones went undefeated to win Olympic gold in Sochi last month, so Homan’s foursome intend to make this a dominant year for Canadian women’s curling.

Homan will have last-rock advantage to start Sunday’s final. The Canadians went 10-1 to win the preliminary round in Saint John with one lopsided 8-4 loss to the Swiss on the second day of competition.

The Swiss, who finished second at 9-2, can still get to the final, but must win Saturday afternoon’s semifinal to gain a rematch.

“We hope to see Canada in Sunday’s final,” Swiss third Irene Schori said. “They played really well. We also played really good but Alison had two big shots that were awesome.”

Feltscher will take on the winner on Sunday morning’s playoff between third seed Russia’s Anna Sidorova and fourth seed South Korean’s Ji-sun Kim.

The South Koreans claimed the fourth and final playoff berth with a 7-5 tiebreaker win earlier Friday over Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson.

Miskew led all thirds in shooting percentage in the preliminary round. The Canadian third executed beautiful clearing shots and hits and rolls during the week, but it was Kreviazuk, after an up and down few days, taking over in the highlight reel department Friday.

The 23-year-old also made a runback double in the sixth in front of 2,835 at Harbour Station.

“She played amazing and those runbacks she made were key to getting their rocks out of there because we were in trouble both those times, so really good on her,” Miskew said.

The shot of confidence came at the right time for Kreviazuk.

“It’s definitely going up a lot higher,” the second said. “It’s been frustrating throughout the week managing the ice, the rocks.

“It takes a toll on your confidence sometimes, but ultimately you’ve got to believe you’re a great thrower and you’re dealing with the best scenario you possibly can and sometimes it’s going to be tricky. Just go back to the basics and do what you know you can do.”

Homan’s team took bronze in their world championship debut last year in Riga, Latvia, where they had to come through a tiebreaker to get into playoffs.

Homan won her playoff between the third and fourth seeds, but missed a double takeout with her last shot of the semifinal to give up a steal of one and the win to eventual world champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland.

The skip’s hitting game was in full force Friday, however. Her cross-house double takeout in the eighth negated Switzerland’s chance for two to get back in the game and brought Harbour Station to its feet.

With some scrubbing by front end Kreviazuk and Weagle, Homan squeaked by a guard for another double to score three in the ninth when the Swiss shook hands.

Because there’s two games at Harbour Station on Saturday, the Canadians will have to wait until Sunday to throw some pre-final rocks. That’s fine with Homan.

“I’m glad we have some rest. I wouldn’t have any voice tomorrow that’s for sure,” Homan said. “I know our sweepers are tired, especially after my last shot. They need the rest and recovery as well.

“We’re ready. We need rest more than we need to play. We’re playing really well. The more rested and mentally prepared we are for Sunday, the better off we’ll be.”

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