Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canadians suck it up for bronze

They take out Americans for third; Scotland wins women's world gold

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RIGA, Latvia -- Canada's Rachel Homan entered her first world women's curling championship full of confidence after a stellar performance at the national playdowns.

The young skip leaves the tournament with a bronze medal and the invaluable experience of dealing with adversity on one of the sport's biggest stages.

Homan defeated Erika Brown of the United States 8-6 in the third-place game Sunday morning, just hours after a crushing 8-7 loss to Scotland's Eve Muirhead in the semifinal a night earlier. The young Canadian side was able to quickly put the defeat in the past and concentrate on reaching the podium.

"We've had to battle back, we've had to regroup," Homan said. "I think we showed ourselves that we can come back, battle hard and fight to the end.

"I'm really proud of my team, how we played this week and into the playoffs as well."

Scotland defeated Sweden's Margaretha Sigfridsson 6-5 for the gold medal later Sunday.

There were some challenges for the Canadians on this trip. They arrived later than expected after spending an uncomfortable night sleeping on chairs in the Frankfurt airport when bad weather grounded their connecting flight.

The low point came when Homan blew a glorious chance to reach the gold-medal game when she missed a double takeout attempt that gave Muirhead the victory in the semifinal.

The Canadians couldn't hide their dejection after the loss. They had long, expressionless faces in the arena hallway and Homan needed 20 minutes to cool down in the locker-room before eventually providing a few pithy answers to questions from reporters.

Breakfast was optional Sunday and coach Earle Morris saw it as a good sign when everyone showed up at the meal looking to get energized. With the loss still gnawing at them, Homan and teammates Emma Miskew, Lisa Weagle and Alison Kreviazuk put on their best faces at the Volvo Sports Center.

"It's always the toughest game for Canada because you come in here with high expectations and you're interested in being in the gold-medal game, and when you don't get there, you have to regroup," Morris said.

"We all got together in the room last night, had a glass of wine, talked about it and said, 'You know what? We have a responsibility to come in with a good performance.' Today, the girls did really well."

The Canadians appeared loose and confident against Brown and gave the small crowd an impressive performance. Homan scored three points in the third end and never trailed after that. She nailed a hit for two in the seventh for a comfortable lead down the home stretch.

Both teams finished with a shooting percentage of 88 per cent. Homan led all players at 94 per cent.

"I think everyone was replaying everything in their heads, and you have to just park it," Kreviazuk said. "You have to let it go and move on to the next challenge and try to win the next one."

Canada hasn't won a world women's title since Jennifer Jones was victorious in 2008.

The Canadians will likely take a few days off before preparing for next month's Players' Championship in Toronto. The next big circle on the 2013 calendar is the Olympic qualification event in early December in Winnipeg.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 25, 2013 C12

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