It will be Val Sweeting of Edmonton and Rachel Homan of Ottawa in Sunday’s women’s final of the Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing.
Sweeting struggled with her draw weight in today’s semifinal, but backed by the strong play and sweeping of teammates third Lori Olson-Johns, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachelle Brown they got by Heather Nedohin of Sherwood Park, Alta., 7-6. But they needed an extra end to get the hard-fought victory.
Nedohin and her teammates, third Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Laine Peters battled valiantly throughout the match but they gave up a steal of one in the ninth end and allowed Sweeting to escape without having to throw last rock in the 11th. Nedohin’s attempted last-rock raise attempt was wide and left Sweeting sitting with the winning point.
Both skips struggled at times with the keen ice and finished with their lowest shooting percentages of the week, both at less than 70 per cent.
“Did they shorten the rings of something overnight?” Sweeting joked afterwards. “It was quick out there. I was heavy a lot, but I made the ones that matter, that’s what counts.”
She credited her teammates with playing a major role in the victory.
“The whole team hung in there. I was struggling a bit with my draws but the team was really good, they were just, ‘You know what? We’ve got this, it’s ours.’ They really hung in there.”
While she did struggle with draws, Sweeting made the key shots, including a perfect draw to the button for two in the eighth and her first lead of the game.
Nedohin counted one in the first, two in the third, one in the seventh and two in the 10th to force the extra end. Sweeting countered with one in the third, deuces in the fifth and eight and a steal of one in the ninth.
“I missed the shot,” Nedohin said of her try at a come-around tap back in the ninth. “When your skip misses a shot in nine and they get a steal it’s the turning point, absolutely. My thoughts were to get two, maybe an opportunity for three.”
The game swung in Sweeting’s favour in the eighth end when she made a tight, but perfectly placed draw to the button for two and a 5-4 lead. After fighting with her draws through the first seven ends, Sweeting was perfect with this one.
Nedohin had come up inches short on her last rock, an attempted raise and tap to get shot. Instead she left Sweeting shot on one side of the button and the Edmonton skip drew to the other side for her deuce.
Sunday’s winning team receives $14,000 and a berth in the Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, meaning they will be among the teams in contention for the 2018 Olympic berth. If Sweeting wins she also becomes part of Team Canada for the 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup Jan. 8-11 in Calgary. Homan has already qualified for that event.
TSN/TSN2 and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the Hardware Canada Cup. Click here for the broadcast schedule.
For ticket information for the 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup, go to http://www.curling.ca/2014canadacup-en/tickets/.