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Ontario to clash with Manitoba for Scotties gold

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – Manitoba’s Michelle Englot and Ontario’s Rachel Homan will play Sunday for the third time in four days. This time the Scotties Tournament of Hearts championship will be on the line.

Homan and her Ottawa crew of vice-skip Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney, lead Lisa Weagle, alternate Cheryl Kreviazuk and coach Adam Kingsbury had no trouble beating Krista McCarville 7-5 in the semifinal Saturday night at the Meridian Centre.

Homan, a two-time Scotties winner, is looking forward to the third game of this Canadian Women’s Curling Championship.

“They are a strong team and we are excited to get another chance,” Homan said. “Hopefully it will be a good game for the fans and hopefully we make our last shot in 10.”

Against Northern Ontario, Ontario scored four in the second end on the way to the decisive win. The end was played in the four-foot, with Homan gaining the rock-placement advantage as the end progressed. Facing three, McCarville was light on a tapback attempt, leaving Homan with an in-off for the four.

“It was a really strong game by my team,” Homan said. “We are pretty excited to be in the final and the position we wanted to be in all week.”

McCarville said it’s difficult to come back from a deficit like that against Homan.

“You never want to give up a four-ender to a team like that,” said McCarville, who is backed by vice-skip Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala, lead Sarah Potts, alternate Oye-Sem Won Briand and coach Lorraine Lang. “They are so good at peeling out and hitting overall to climb back after that.

“A slightly missed shot or a bad angle and they can throw that weight that can blast three, four rocks out. Unfortunately, for the four-ender they got, we didn’t get our rocks in the right place.”

After Northern Ontario got two in the third, Homan made a momentum-crushing takeout. She angle-raised one long guard onto another to knock McCarville’s shot rock off the button. What looked like a steal opportunity became a blank end.

Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville calls to her sweepers during the Scotties semifinal on Saturday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

A deuce in the fifth restored Homan’s four-point lead.

McCarville scored one in the seventh and stole one in the eighth to get back to within two. Homan got one in the ninth to take a three-point lead. She ran McCarville out of rocks in the 10th end.

Englot won the first two meetings against Homan – in the round-robin Thursday and then in the Page 1-2 game on Friday — and also won in a Grand Slam event meeting earlier this season in Cranbrook, B.C. Does she have one more in her?

“We just need to make sure that we come out and play our game against her, and force her to play our style a little bit,” Englot said. “We know how well we have to play to beat her. Teams do get the upper hand on other teams now and then, and yeah, there can be that mental block. But we don’t want to take anything for granted.”

In the two previous meetings in St. Catharines, Englot has had the hammer in the first end both times. She scored four against Homan in the first game and two the second.

“We made a few mistakes in the last games we played against them and we are going to have to bring our A game tomorrow,” said Homan.

McCarville, meanwhile, said she would like to be back on the podium for the second straight year. She won silver last year, losing the final to Canada’s Chelsea Carey, her foe in the bronze-medal game Sunday.

“Even though this loss is disappointing, we definitely want to come out firing tomorrow. We want to be on that podium. It means a lot to us, to our families, who have put in so much time for us. We are going to work really hard to get third place.”

The bronze-medal came will be played at 2:30 p.m. ET and the final at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

At stake in the gold-medal game is a trip to China as Team Canada next month for the CPT World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Ford of Canada, next month in Beijing.

Should Team Canada win a medal at the World Women’s, it will qualify automatically for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Ottawa — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

As well, the 2017 Scotties winner will qualify for the 2018 World Financial Group Continental Cup in London, Ont., and will return to next year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C., as Team Canada.

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