Ontario, skipped by Rachel Homan of Ottawa, captured the M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior women’s curling championship Sunday, defeating British Columbia (Dailene Sivertson of Victoria), 9-5 at Le Colisée.
In doing so, the team went through unbeaten, just the fourth women’s team in Canadian Juniors history since 1971 to accomplish the feat. Homan’s Ottawa Curling Club crew of Emma Miskew, Laura Crocker and Lynn Kreviazuk went 13-0 for the week while celebrating their first Canadian title.
The last women’s team to go unbeaten was Manitoba, skipped by Cathy Overton in 1989. It was also the third Canadian junior women’s title for Ontario, following skips Kim Gellard in 1993 in Trois-Rivières and Alison Goring in 1983 in Calgary.
The game turned in the sixth end with Homan up 4-3, but with British Columbia having hammer.
Homan made a terrific runback with her last stone, which chipped out a British Columbia counter in the four-foot to lay three. Sivertson then tried an angle tap on her guard, but it slid too far, leaving Ontario with a crucial steal of three and a 7-3 lead.
“We could have drawn but we kind of like the risk and reward,” said the 20-year-old Homan, about the crucial sixth end. “Maybe get a steal of one or hit it exactly right and steal three. It was a tough shot for her for one and it was a little heavy. But they played really well the whole game. We had to throw runbacks to even get points.”
At last year’s M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Salmon Arm, Homan finished first in the round robin with a 10-2 record, but lost to Manitoba’s Kaitlyn Lawes in the final.
“It’s a way better feeling than last year,” Homan continued. “I think (last year) we hadn’t been there before, we were maybe a little nervous, first time in the final. We were playing so much better this year, clicking as a team, everything was working. Even after we clinched a spot in the finals, we wanted to go undefeated. The last couple of days we got a feel for the ice. We wanted to play well. We had a practice yesterday and this morning. The ice was great.”
Homan’s team will now represent Canada at the 2010 world junior curling championships in Flims, Switzerland, March 6-14. Canada has won a leading eight world junior women’s titles since 1988, the last one by Marliese Miller (now Kasner) in 2003, coincidentally in Flims.
“We’re so excited (about going to Flims). We’re going to prepare these next few months and try to bring back gold for Canada,” Homan said.
The game started very conservatively with a blanked first end. Homan then made a nice draw in the second with her last stone to bite the four-foot and count two.
In the third, Sivertson tried a double, rather than go for an open draw with her last rock, but hit and rolled too far, giving up a steal of one for a 3-0 lead for Ontario.
However, British Columbia fought back to even the score in the fourth, when Sivertson’s first stone, an angle-raise takeout, was successful, followed by an easy hit for three when Homan’s shot rock was left wide open.
Ontario took one in the fifth when Homan, staring at several rival stones, made a draw for a 4-3 lead at the break. Then came the fateful sixth.
“That steal definitely hurt us,” said Sivertson. “It was the breaking point. We did everything we could. It was an unfortunate miss. I threw it a little heavier than I wanted to. Those girls are great peelers and we couldn’t come back.”
Sivertson stayed in the game in the seventh, making a draw with backing to the edge of the four-foot, while looking at three Ontario counters, to narrow the margin to 7-4.
But Homan proved too much, hitting and staying for a deuce in the eighth and a 9-4 lead. After a single by Sivertson in nine, Homan ran her out of rocks in the 10th for the victory.