SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — Kerri Einarson has turned her season around all the way to capturing her first career Grand Slam title.
Einarson earned the Boost National championship Sunday by defeating Silvana Tirinzoni 5-3 in the women’s final.
The East St. Paul, Man., team of Einarson, third Selena Kaatz, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish missed the playoffs at the first two Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament of the season. They were routed in their first game of the Boost National, coincidentally falling to Tirinzoni 7-1, before righting the ship to win six straight.
“It’s really exciting,” Fyfe said. “It’s a little unexpected, to be honest, but it’s super fun and super exciting.
“It means a lot. We kind of lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year in what we were doing so I think this just gives us a really good boost for the new year and to just keep going and rolling with this. I think it will really help us.”
Einarson broke a 3-3 tie scoring two in the seventh and ran her opponent out of rocks in the eighth as she punched out Tirinzoni’s lone stone in the house with her last during the final frame.
“That last shot, I felt it, just threw it and had goose bumps right down my whole entire body when I saw it go down the ice,” Einarson said. “This is truly amazing and I couldn’t be happier.”
Tirinzoni was in charge during the first half forcing Einarson to settle for a single in the second with an open hit while facing three. The Swiss skip took two in the third and made Einarson throw a draw for a single in the fourth against three counters again. Einarson made the high-pressure shot hitting against backing to count one and tie it 2-2 heading into halftime.
The tables turned to Einarson’s favour in the fifth as she stole one for the lead when Tirinzoni attempted a slash double, but the first counter jammed and stuck around while the shooter rolled out.
“That was a huge steal in that end,” Einarson said. “It definitely felt like the momentum shifted there. When we got our two in seven I just knew coming home in eight we were going to be good.”
Tirinzoni drew for one in the sixth to knot it up again 3-3. Einarson splitit up in seven and it paid off for her as Tirinzoni missed a double allowing her to ease her last in and up by two. Einarson ran Tirinzoni out of rocks in eight.
The Aarau, Switzerland, team of Tirinzoni, second Esther Neuenschwander and lead Marlene Albrecht had Cathy Overton-Clapham filling in at third with Manuela Siegrist out due to a knee injury. Overton-Clapham, from Winnipeg, was a super spare in the past with two Grand Slam titles over the last couple seasons as a sub winning the 2014 Masters with Val Sweeting and the 2016 Players’ Championship with Eve Muirhead.
Coincidentally, both teams were champions in the series last season and at the same event. Tirinzoni captured her first career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title in the Tour Challenge Tier 1 division while Einarson earned the Tier 2 trophy to move up into the elite ranks where’s she stayed put and proven she belongs.
NOTES: The Boost National was the third event and second major of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling. … Hometown hero Brad Jacobs captured the men’s title defeating Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers 4-2 earlier Sunday. … Team Einarson and Team Jacobs cashed in $30,000 each for their wins. … The next event on the schedule is the Meridian Canadian Open running Jan. 3-8 in North Battleford, Sask.