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Team Manitoba falls to defending champions before semifinal

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Team Canada skip Rachel Homan delivers her rock to team New Brunswick during draw 17 curling action at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts competition in Montreal, Friday, February 7, 2014.

GRAHAM HUGHES / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Team Canada skip Rachel Homan delivers her rock to team New Brunswick during draw 17 curling action at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts competition in Montreal, Friday, February 7, 2014.

MONTREAL — There could be a second chance for Chelsea Carey to face Rachel Homan in the final days of this 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but for now the Team Manitoba skip must regroup and get ready for Saturday’s semifinal game.

After a blistering battle, Carey fell 5-4 to Homan’s rink in the top Page playoff of the national championship. Homan will now advance to the Sunday evening final, where she will get ready to defend her Canadian title, while Carey, third Kristy McDonald, second Kristen Foster and lead Lindsay Titheridge will roll up their sleeves and get ready for the semifinal game.

Their opponent will be decided in the morning, when Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton and Alberta’s Val Sweeting play the second Page playoff game. The winner of that one will move on to face Carey in the semifinal. The loser will stick around for Sunday morning’s bronze medal game.

Though Carey would rather be on the other side of the result, the Manitoban foursome gave Homan’s team a run for its money, forcing one the tightest games the defending champions have played all week. The Manitoban skip herself was perfect through seven ends, and she finished with a robust shot rating of 90 per cent. Third Kristy McDonald did even better, at 93 per cent, both above their Homan rink counterparts.

"It was a battle," Carey said. "We battled back, and stole a couple points, and tied it up… what can you do? Hopefully we get another shot at them in the final."

At first, it looked like Homan might have the game in hand, when she played a beauty double take-out in the second end to take a 3-0 lead, but Carey’s rink battled back: they picked up a single in the fourth, then stole points in each of the next two ends to tie the game at three.

As the game roared towards its close, the teams traded singles again, tied at four apiece after eight. But in the ninth, Carey couldn’t force Homan’s rink to take the single and hand back the hammer, so Homan carried the hammer into the final end. There, Carey’s hopes for a steal evaporated, and they shook hands when her final stone wrecked on a guard and couldn’t make it to sit shot. 

On a remarkable note, that makes 12 straight games at this Scotties that Rachel Homan hasn’t had to throw her final rock. "We’ll have to keep it that way," she said with a mischievous smile, moments after the game.

 

Melissa.Martin@freepress.mb.ca

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