KINGSTON, Ont. — Ontario’s Rachel Homan defeated Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones 9-6 on Sunday night to win the gold medal at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
It was the first national women’s curling title for Homan and her Ottawa Curling Club team of Emma Miskew, Lisa Weagle, Alison Kreviazuk and alternate Stephanie Drew.
They will represent Canada at next month’s world women’s curling championship in Riga, Latvia.
“I can’t even comprehend what just happened right now,” Homan said. “It’s unbelievable.”
The Ontario skip hugged her teammates and coach after the victory and was overcome with emotion while speaking to reporters after the win. She had to pause on occasion as tears of joy welled in her eyes.
The partisan crowd at the K-Rock Centre roared its approval in the opening end as Homan jumped out to an early lead.
Jones crashed on a guard and Homan made a nice draw to score three.
Jones cut into the lead by scoring one in the second end and adding another single in the fourth.
Play was delayed for a couple minutes in the fifth end when Weagle’s broom accidentally made contact with a stone at the 12-foot.
The stone was raised by the broom and the rock actually popped up in the air when the thrown stone made contact with it. Two displaced stones had to be returned to their original spots and the Ontario stone was taken out of play.
Homan and her teammates kept their composure after the miscue and the 23-year-old skip came through with a draw for a single and a 4-2 lead.
Jones, a four-time national champion, tied the game with a double in the sixth end but Homan regained the lead in the seventh.
She cleared two Manitoba stones from the eight-foot with her first shot. Jones was heavy with her final throw, leaving Homan with a draw to score three and the crowd erupted when she nailed it for a 7-4 lead.
Ontario padded its lead with a steal of two after Jones missed a triple takeout attempt in the eighth end.
“They played great,” Jones said.
“They played lights out and they deserved to win today.”
Jones scored two points in the ninth.
Earlier in the day, B.C.’s Kelly Scott defeated Team Canada’s Heather Nedohin 10-8 to win the bronze medal.
Scott picked up a single in the ninth end and stole another point in the 10th for the victory. The result came after a disappointing loss to Nedohin in the 3-4 Page playoff game a day earlier.
“We brought our hit weights down today and really didn’t change anything other than that and had a great game out there,” Scott said.
“So that’s how you want to leave an event like this.”
The game was a rematch of last year’s final in Red Deer, Alta., where Nedohin beat Scott 7-6 to win the gold.
It was a tough day for Nedohin, who dropped an 8-5 decision to Jones in the semifinal before falling to Scott. Homan beat Jones in the 1-2 Page playoff game on Saturday to lock up a berth in the championship game.
In the semifinal, Nedohin led 4-2 after six ends but Jones pulled even with a pair in the seventh and stole two in the eighth. Nedohin scored one in the ninth to cut the Manitoba lead in half but couldn’t complete the comeback.
The 38-year-old Jones also won a world title in 2008. Homan, 23, won a Canadian junior title in 2010 and finished fourth in her only previous Scotties appearance in 2011.
Jones was 11-0 over the round robin to become the first skip since British Columbia’s Linda Moore to go undefeated. Moore went 10-0 in 1985 and then won the final in Winnipeg.
Homan’s only loss of the round robin was to Jones.
Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones holds the Scotties record with six titles. She returned as vice-skip on Mary-Anne Arsenault’s rink this year but they finished 5-6 and did not make the playoffs.
The Homan and Jones rinks receive $15,500 in prize money for reaching the final. Scott’s team gets $12,000 and Nedohin’s rink receives $7,000.
Teams finishing fifth through 12th receive $3,400 each and all 12 teams receive $4,167 for title sponsor cresting.
Homan’s team also receives $10,000 for wearing cresting at the world championship along with $40,000 from Own The Podium for training and competition expenses. Sport Canada will provide them with $144,000 over a two-year period.
The men’s national championship — the Tim Hortons Brier — is set for March 2-10 in Edmonton. The winner will represent Canada at the March 30-April 7 world men’s curling championship in Victoria.
Notes: Bal Gosal, the minister of state for sport, was in attendance. … Manitoba claimed three first-team all-star nods. Jones and teammates Dawn Askin and Kaitlyn Lawes were joined by Ontario’s Alison Kreviazuk. Homan was named to the second team with Canada’s Laine Peters, Manitoba’s Jill Officer and B.C.’s Jeanna Schraeder. The all-star teams were selected solely on players’ statistics during round-robin play. … B.C.’s Sasha Carter was the winner of the Marj Mitchell Sportsmanship Award and Andrew Klaver was the recipient of the Joan Mead Builder Award. Klaver has been the official tournament photographer for the past 23 years. … The 2014 Scotties will be held in Montreal.