ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Twenty-eight years ago, Michelle Englot won the bronze medal at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. She will have a medal of a different colour Sunday, all these years later, when she plays for gold.
Manitoba scored deuces in the first and third ends, snagged three in sixth end and a single in a key eighth end on the way to a 9-8 win over Ontario’s Rachel Homan in the Page playoff 1-2 game of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Friday at the Meridian Centre. That summary is over-simplifying what was an entertaining game between teams with vastly different styles of play.
Englot is a finesse player through and through, while Homan is the master of the up-weight game. Finesse won Friday night.
Englot, who is 53, couldn’t be happier to be in the Scotties final.
“It’s just amazing,” she said. “The girls have played so well all week and to come out and have such a solid game tonight feels really good. We’ll just keep on doing what we’re doing and hopefully play as strong on Sunday night.”
She said winning the Scotties would be a crowning achievement in a long career.
“It would be incredible. I have put a lot of time into it. I have such a solid team and we’re hoping to just stay the course and stay focused and relaxed and come out and do what we do.”
Englot said playing her game is the key to beating Homan.
“We keep putting the pressure on and eventually she’s going to miss,” said Englot who has a supporting cast of vice-skip Kate Cameron, second Leslie Wilson, lead Raunora Westcott, alternate Krysten Karwacki and coach Ron Westcott. “We got a couple of misses and took advantage of it. We’ve been taking advantage of every opportunity.”
One of the turning points came in the sixth end when Homan missed two draws. She was heavy on her first one and came up light on the second one. Englot drew to the corner of the four-foot for three.
Ontario didn’t go quietly, scoring a deuce on the seventh to make the score 8-6. The eighth end was one of the best of the competition. With Englot counting two in the four-foot, Homan made a sensational in-off doubletakeout and spilled another rock out of the four-foot, lifting the pro-Ontario crowd out of their seats.
Englot took a few extra seconds before delivering one of her most important shots of the week. She bumped one of her own rocks onto Homan’s shot rock to get a single and go up three points with two ends left.
Homan gave Manitoba full credit for the win.
“They played awesome and kudos to them making the final,” said Homan, who is backed by vice-skip Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney, lead Lisa Weagle, alternate Cheryl Kreviazuk and coach Adam Kingsbury. “Hopefully we will see them there again.”
After losing to Manitoba on consecutive nights, Homan would like another shot.
“The first game was kind of a writeoff,” Homan said of the 9-5 loss in the final round-robin game. “This was a tight game. They played really well, but if we would have got one or two shots here or there, it would have been a different game. We’ll be back strong.”
Homan drops to the semifinal Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, and will face the winner the Page 3-4 game between Canada’s Chelsea Carey and Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville. That game will be played at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The bronze-medal game will be played at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with the championship game at 7:30 p.m.
TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, is providing extensive coverage of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
For ticket information, go to: www.curling.ca/2017scotties/tickets/
For schedule information, go to: www.curling.ca/2017scotties/draw/
Live scoring for the 2017 Scotties is available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/#!/competitions/2236
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2017scotties/?lang=fr