MONTREAL — Rachel Homan never got to throw a final stone in a 10th end.
Such was the dominance of Homan’s Canada team, which went undefeated to claim a second straight Scotties Tournament of Hearts with an 8-6 victory over Alberta’s Val Sweeting on Sunday night.
“We ran the table,” said Homan. “It’s an unbelievable feeling.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates. To be repeat champions is something we’re crazy-proud of.”
The Ottawa team of Homan, lead Lisa Weagle, second Alison Kreviazuk and third Emma Miskew, defended the Canadian women’s curling championship they won last year in Kingston, Ont.
At 13-0, they are the first since Linda Moore’s rink in 1985 to go undefeated.
They were barely threatened along the way, including in the final, when they scored three in the second end and never looked back.
“Being repeat champs is something we’ve worked hard for and it’s something not a lot of teams have done,” said Homan. “That’s what I’m proud of — coming back and showing that we can do it again and that we’re still dominant.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has watched Briers but never before attended a Scotties, was in his Canadian Olympic team jacket among the crowd of 2,861 at the Maurice Richard Arena to watch both the final and the bronze medal game won by Manitoba’s Chelsea Carey.
The win puts Homan’s rink into the women’s world championship March 15-24 in Saint John, N.B., looking to improve on the bronze she won at last year’s worlds.
Sweeting, who finished fourth in the round robin but beat Carey in the semifinal, was never able to recover from giving up the early lead.
“I thought we had a stronger second half, but you can’t get down early on them because they’re such a good team,” said Sweeting. “We were setting up a couple of good ends after that but then we’d have a miss. What can you do?”
After Homan posted three points in the second end, Sweeting answered with a hit for two in the third.
Sweeting was a tad strong on a raise in the fourth and Homan came around the right side to hit for two. Alberta got one back in the fifth.
Canada was in trouble in the sixth when a Sweeting draw left Alberta with three stones near the button, but Homan scattered them with a hit to salvage one point.
Sweeting drew for two in the seventh to close the gap to one point, only to see Homan pick off two Sweeting draws to score two in the eighth.
A Sweeting bid for a double takeout fell short and the Alberta skip was forced to draw for one in the ninth, handing Homan the hammer and a two-point lead going into the final end.
Canada ran them out of rocks to clinch the victory.
“It wasn’t easy — they made us work for everything,” said Homan. “Credit to Val’s team. We needed our absolute A game to beat them.”
Carey won the bronze medal game 7-3 over Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton.
It offered some consolation for not reaching the final.
“The disappointment doesn’t go away, but you want to at least salvage what you can out of it,” said Carey. “I don’t agree with this even being a game. I never have.
“The Page (playoff) system builds in a bronze medallist. But, as much as I disagree with the game, it’s nice to win a game to get there.”
Carey made two perfect draws to score two in the eighth end for a 4-3 lead. Lawton blanked the ninth and had the hammer going into the final end, but then disaster struck.
Second Sherri Singler threw a flash, third Sherry Anderson hit a guard and soon there were five Manitoba stones ringing the button. Lawton tried to sneak in an angled raise with her last shot, but it couldn’t get through and Carey got a steal of three.
“It was worth a try,”said Lawton. “It was there…I had to stick it right on the nose. I couldn’t roll off. But it was a bit too hard. We didn’t leave ourselves in a great position to score one that end.
“It would have been nice to finish with a medal, but I’m proud of our girls. It was a great tournament for us. It’s unfortunate how it ended.”
The winning team splits $25,500 and gets gold rings with a diamond, while the silver medallists get $15,500 plus a gold ring with a ruby.
Carey’s squad gets $12,000 and a gold ring with an emerald. Because of her repeat win, the Homan team’s diamonds will be twice the size of last year. Lawton’s side gets $7,000.
All 12 teams get $4,167 for wearing title sponsor crests.
The winner usually gets $40,000 from the Own The Podium program, but in Olympic years that goes to the team that qualifies for the Winter
Attendance for the week was 39,063, which is less than usual for the Scotties but about what organizers expected in a city that is not a curling hotbed. Attendance will likely be up sharply at next year’s event in Moose Jaw, Sask.