Manitoba wins Hearts duel for final berth

Carey was the defending champion at last year's Canadian women's curling championship, but lost 8-1 to McCarville in a playoff game the previous day to fall short of a repeat.

She won 8-6 in the 11th end to capture her third Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Sunday.

The 53-year-old Englot has described their run to a provincial title and Sunday's final as a 'fairy tale.' She would be the oldest skip to win a Tournament of Hearts in its 32-year history.

Homan, a two-time Canadian champion, must win Saturday evening's semifinal to gain a rematch and a chance to win a third crown.

Team Canada (Chelsea Carey) took bronze after a 7-4 victory over Northern Ontario (Krista McCarville).

Indeed, the world's top-ranked female curler, Homan, played like it Sunday night, from start to finish - executing an extremely hard double takeout early on to take command and then, after other breathtaking end-deciders, made a game-saving double takeout in the 10th to force an 11th end. Had Homan knocked out only one Manitoba stone, Englot would have won it there.

"I don't think so", Homan said.

Homan's team is ranked No. 1 in the world. But having medal-winning experience on the world-championship stage will help them most in Beijing. Miskew wiped out two Manitoba stones for Ontario, which earned a thunderous cheer from most of the 4,143 on hand.

Among the lasting takeaways from this thriller was the play of the thirds: Ontario's Miskew and Manitoba's Cameron. Manitoba sat three, and the three stones were widely arrayed across the back 12-foot.

But Homan, on last rock, worked one of her most magical moments at a Scotties. I loved her throwing that, because she had made that shot so many times ...

Cameron calmly answered by scattering the resultant two Ontario shot stones, to leave Manitoba sitting two.

"It doesn't really matter what happened before", Homan said.

Then, with last rock at these Scotties, Homan pulled off one more magnificent shot - a raise takeout to spill Manitoba's shot stone, and score two. That speaks to the effectiveness of all four Ontario curlers, not just Homan.

"Oh my gawd!" Miskew said. If she doesn't make that shot, the game's over.

  • Julie Sanders