If curling fans across the country wanted drama during the women’s curling final, they were disappointed.
The outcome of Friday’s gold-medal women’s curling match was never in doubt.
Rachel Homan’s Ontario rink knocked Manitoba out of the house again and again, with nary a yell or a break in its icy resolve.
It didn’t make great television — especially when an exiting and noisy bronze-medal match between BC and Saskatchewan was happening on the very next rink — but Ontario executed its plan, going undefeated in seven games.
“We obviously wanted to win gold, the strategy was to try and play offensively as much as possible,” said Homan after her team’s victory at Mount McIntyre.
“A lot of the other teams are a bit more inexperienced, so we wanted to get them out of their comfort zone.”
Ontario coach Earle Morris summed it up: “I think it was the third end when we stole three, that put us up 5-1 and gave us some breathing room, to make a mistake or two and still get the victory.”
The Canada Games gold is just one more feather in Homan’s cap.
The Ottawa-based rink is also four-time Ontario bantam champions, two-time Ontario Women’s Curling Tour champions and under-18 international champions.
Morris said the win was particularly sweet for lead Jamie Sinclair and second Lynn Kreviazuk, who replaced two over-age players that usually play on Homan’s rink.
“We’re using a younger front end, and we’re really proud of them because they had to come in here without playing with us all year,” said Morris.
Both Homan and Morris said the competition was good.
“We just had a really good week, we trained well for it and pulled it off,” said Homan.
“I think there’s an indication that there’s a lot of good curling around the country, not in one particular area, and I think that bodes well for junior curling,” added Morris.
Earlier Friday, Yukon played its final match, to determine 11th place, against a winless NWT squad.
It was a real nail-biter that came down to the final NWT shot from skip Megan Cormier in the 10th end, after Yukon’s Chelsea Duncan placed an almost perfect shot behind a guard.
“Your heart is going boom-boom, but you just have to breathe slowly to bring it down,” said Duncan.
“I was so scared, Linea and I were praying “please God,” said Yukon lead Tessa Vibe.
Someone must have been listening, as the last shot — a raised takeout — was short and Yukon stole the win, an emotional finish.
Yukon managed to scrape its way back from a 5-2 deficit in the sixth end, but the team was worried the whole time.
“It feels awesome,” said Yukon skip Sarah Koltun after the match.
“We knew we’d have to work really hard to get the win, and they were playing really well,” added Duncan, the only member of the team that will be too old to play at the next Canada Games four years from now.
The tournament was a real success for the Yukon squad: it managed to meet its goals, beating Nunavut and NWT and hanging in against the provinces.
“I think we did really well, better than we expected,” said Vibe.
“We can come back again — and next time, hopefully, we’ll win it.”