Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada vs. Holland, again

Jones would tie record, Saskatchewan victory would be province's first since Schmirler in '97

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CHARLOTTETOWN -- Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones will play Saskatchewan's Amber Holland tonight with a Canadian women's curling championship -- and some history -- on the line.

Both Jones and Holland will be attempting to make some curling history in the final today (TSN, 5:30 p.m.). With a win, Jones would record her fourth-straight Canadian women's curling championship, tying the record set by Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones from 2001-04.

But should Saskatchewan win the final, it would be the first men's or women's Canadian curling championship for that province since the late Sandra Schmirler won the Scotties in 1997. Saskatchewan and Jones's Team Canada foursomes were the two best teams here all week, finishing 1-2 in the round-robin standings, respectively.

But while Saskatchewan finished first in the round-robin, Holland ackowledged the formidable challenge she will face on Sunday against a three-time defending champion in Jones.

"You know she's coming with everything, right?," said Holland, who played her first Scotties playoff game ever on Friday. "But if we can kind of stay the course and focus on our performance and keep the pressure on them and make our shots, the rest will take care of itself."

Jones -- who has won four of the five Canadian finals she has played in since 2005 and has not lost a playoff game at this event since 2007 -- is not underestimating Holland.

"They're playing really well right now," said Jones. "It should be a very interesting game, with lots of rocks in play."

Holland advanced to face Jones in the final with a 7-5 win over Ontario's Rachel Homan Saturday afternoon in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts semifinal. It was a difficult loss for the 21-year-old Ontario skip, who electrified the crowds here all week long with a big-weight game not commonly seen in women's curling.

"It's not fun to lose that's for sure," said Homan. "They were just a better team today for sure. We were real close, but not quite.

"We stuck together though and we were a team right to the end. And now, we're going to go and try and win an ugly ring."

For the first time at this event, the Canadian Curling Association is requiring teams to play a bronze medal game, which will present the awkward spectre here this afternoon of Homan having to beat Nova Scotia's Heather Smith-Dacey for the second time in two days to claim third.

Homan already beat Smith-Dacey 13-5 earlier on Saturday in the page playoff 3 vs. 4 game to advance to the sem-final.

Today's final will be a rubber match of sorts. Holland defeated Jones 9-3 in the round-robin last Sunday, but Canada won the rematch Friday night in the page playoff 1 vs 2 game by a score of 10-9.

That win propelled Jones straight to Sunday's final, while Holland had to try again in the semi-final against Ontario.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 27, 2011 0

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