No home-sweet-home for Team Homan at Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings

OTTAWA — It was not a warm welcome home for Rachel Homan and her Ottawa-based team in the opening draw of the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Saturday. The 2017 world champion and the hometown favourite gave up three deuces and a pivotal ninth-end steal to Chelsea Carey of Calgary to fall 8-4. John Morris, who was born in Ottawa and curls out of Vernon, B.C., also didn’t get any warm and fuzzy feeling as he gave up a deuce in the eighth and a steal of one in the ninth to fall 5-3 to 2014 Olympic champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. “Someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose,” Homan said after her ho-hum performance that saw her shoot just 76 per cent. “It’s the first of a long week and we’re just excited to be out there. “We struggled a bit with a few shots and a few lines but we’re learning (the ice) and it was expected.” Carey and Homan traded singles and doubles and it was her third deuce – in the eighth end – the propelled Carey, third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters and coach Helen Radford to her victory. Homan came up light on her last-rock draw, failing to get to the house, and that left Carey an easy draw to the four foot for her pivotal two points. “You come out the first game, your goal is less about the result and more about just wanting to learn the ice,” said Carey, who shot 91 per cent. “It’s a long week and winning or losing your first game doesn’t matter that much. We’ve come through this event having won (our first game) and lost it and ended up with basically the same record.” There were some early nerves shown on a couple of the sheets but those surrendered to an array of superb shotmaking that led to plenty of blank ends and hard-fought singles. Kevin Koe and his Calgary foursome of third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Scott Pfeifer and coach John Dunn blanked four ends in a strategically played game against Steve Laycock of Saskatoon that ended 6-3 for Koe. “Everyone’s tough out here so that gives us a good start,” Koe said of the victory. “It was a close game all the way and we played a real good second half.” Koe, who qualified for this event two years ago and was glad “to finally get out there and get a win,” broke the game open with deuces in the sixth and eighth ends and sealed with two more in the 10th. Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Pete Steski and coach Caleb Flaxey, had a tough battle against Morris before cracking the only deuce of the game in the eighth end and stealing one in the ninth go finally emerge with the win.

Kirk Muyres of Team Laycock looks for a different angle during his team’s game against Team Kevin Koe. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“It was a pretty straightforward game,” said Jacobs. “It’s incredible to play four-rock again. It’s a bit more I would say boring, little bit more of a wide-open game. We missed a bit of an opportunity in seven, maybe could have got a deuce or three but they made a lot of good shots.” Jacobs was a bit wide and a tough heavy with his last-rock draw to let Morris steal one for a 3-2 lead. But Jacobs rebounded with his two in eight and the steal in nine. “We were able to bounce back with a good deuce in eight. That made everybody feel pretty good, lifted everyone’s spirits a little bit and felt like we were back in control of the game.” In the other game Casey Scheidegger, third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Scheidegger, lead Kristie Moore, alternate Susan O’Connor and coach Carolyn McRorie of Lethbridge scored a single in the 10th to nip Alli Flaxey of Toronto 6-5. In the evening’s 7 p.m. (all times EST) draw John Epping of Toronto plays reigning world champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s; Reid Carruthers of West St. Paul, Man., takes on Mike McEwen of Winnipeg; Michelle Englot of Winnipeg plays Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Val Sweeting of Edmonton plays defending champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg.

The 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings continues on Sunday with draws at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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