Veteran Jennifer Jones rode a three-ender in the fourth to an 8-4 victory over Rachel Homan of Ottawa in the women’s semifinal at the Home Hardware Canada Cup on Saturday evening at Affinity Place.
Jones and her teammates from Winnipeg will play Kerri Einarson of Gimili, Man., in Sunday’s final at 2 p.m. (all times CST).
Both teams played cautiously through three ends, tied 1-1, but Jones, vice-skip Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Dawn McEwen made the first break in the fourth. Homan missed a double attempt with her final stone and left Jones a wide open draw for three.
“Getting a three against such a great team changed the momentum a bit,” Jones said of the pivotal end. “We made some big shots when we needed them. Even when it got a little scary in eight we managed to hold them to two so all-in-all, pretty happy with our performance.”
In the fifth Jones buried a stone early and Homan, backed by vice-skip Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle never did moved it out of the house, giving up a steal of one and a 5-1 deficit.
Homan, winner of the 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, tried to battle back but the veteran Jones crew had answers for almost everything Homan and company could come up with. Jones scored another two in the seventh.
One of the few potential chances Homan had to get back into the game came in the eighth when a Lawes shot to eliminate a guard ended up taking out two Jones stones in the house and leaving Homan with three counters. Jones made a double with her final stone and Homan had to draw for two.
“We had quite a few picks in the middle (ends) and didn’t quite find the lines,” a disappointed Homan said of her team’s performance. “We had to keep going to new paths. But Jenn and her team played well. It was a tough one tonight, but we had a lot of really good games and I’m proud of our efforts this week.”
Team Jones adjusted to the ice conditions early and found the paths they needed to make the shots required to keep Homan at bay.
“All week we’ve been making the big shots when we had to, for the most part, and that was no different tonight.”
Jones will now have a rematch with Einarson, who beat her 6-3 in the round robin. Asked what her team will have to do different to beat Einarson, Jones said: “I have to play better. I didn’t play very well in the round-robin (game). They’re a tremendous team, tons of great shots from them so we’ll have to be sharp from lead to skip through 10 ends.”
Einarson, vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, lead Briane Meilleur and coach Patti Wuthrich earned their bye into the final by finishing first in the round robin with a 6-1 record.
Sunday’s winner of the final receives $14,000 (the losing side gets $9,000), a berth into the 2021 Tim Hortons Road to the Roar Pre-Trials and qualify for a World Curling Federation Curling World Cup event during the 2019-20 season.
The 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup continues with Sunday’s finals: the women at 2 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.