Rachel Homan claims Champions Cup to win 6th GSOC title

Rachel Homan with a fantastic finals shot to give her side the win against Anna Hasselborg's group to secure the Humpty's Champions Cup title.

CALGARY — Winning the Humpty’s Champions Cup was the cherry on top of an amazing season for Rachel Homan.

The Canadian and world champ captured her sixth career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title scoring two in the final end to lift her team to a 5-4 win over Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg in Sunday’s final at WinSport Arena.

Team Homan earned $40,000 in the season-ending event and clinched a spot for next year’s Champions Cup to defend the title.

“It’s really exciting we were able to finish the season off with a win,” Homan said. “Ready for a break.”

While it was also the sixth Pinty’s GSOC title for third Emma Miskew and lead Lisa Weagle, it was the first for Sarah Wilkes, a Canadian mixed champion and winner of the 2017 Alberta Scotties, who was subbing at second for Joanne Courtney.

“This was my first Slam final and I was very fortunate to be with a couple young veterans on the team,” said Wilkes, who regularly plays with Team Kleibrink. “They made me feel really comfortable and it’s really exciting.”

Courtney was away playing in the world mixed doubles championship with Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers. Their silver-medal finish helped Canada clinch an Olympic spot in mixed doubles for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.

Wilkes admitted she was a little nervous with big shoes to fill.

“I hadn’t curled with any of them before except sweeping Emma’s Hot Shots at the Scotties, which really doesn’t count,” she said with a smile. “They made it really comfortable for me and it was a lot of fun for sure.”

Homan added it was amazing having Wilkes as the super spare.

“We know she’s a great player, which is why we asked her to come out and help us out,” Homan said. “She’s a great sweeper and fit in really well.”

Hasselborg, from Sweden, started with the hammer after edging Homan in the opening draw-to-the-button shootout. That didn’t faze Homan one bit though especially after she never held the hammer once during her 5-0 shutout win over Alina Paetz of Switzerland during Saturday night’s semifinals.

Homan picked up where she left off to steal a point in the first by freezing on top of the button with her last and Hasselborg was unable to remove it as her final rock missed the mark and connected with her own instead.

Homan boarded up the front door in the second forcing Hasselborg to draw against one and she landed on the tee line to level it 1-1. A blank in three put bagels on the board.

Hasselborg made a great run double takeout on her first skip stone to sit three counters to really put the pressure on Homan in the fourth end. Homan made a raise to tap her own but it went too far and gave up a steal of one for the 2-1 lead.

Homan couldn’t capitalize in the fifth when Hasselborg left an opening to draw for a deuce as her shot locked onto a guard and she only got a single to tie it 2-2.

“They played really well,” Homan said. “We had to fight for every shot.”

A steal in six handed the lead back to Homan. Facing three, Homan tapped a pair to lie shot stone and Hasselborg didn’t hit enough of it as the counter stuck around.

Homan flashed her first skip stone in seven and misfired a runback double attempt with her second as it went straight past allowing Hasselborg to draw in her last and score a deuce to pull back ahead 4-3.

Hasselborg fell into trouble in eight and went down the side to raise her own, rolling deep but getting second shot. Homan went for the hit to promote her own to get the deuce.

“It’s definitely not the shot you visualize to win the Champions Cup,” Homan said. “But we figured out the line, it was a great team shot, great line call and swept really well.”

Homan finished runner-up at the inaugural Humpty’s Champions Cup last season to Jennifer Jones and got revenge eliminating the Winnipeg skip in the quarterfinals.

Team Homan captured the Scotties Tournament of Hearts earlier this season to qualify for the Humpty’s Champions Cup and became the first women’s club to go 13-0 en route to gold at the world championship.

Hasselborg cashed in $29,000 for her runner-up result playing in her first career Pinty’s GSOC final following four semifinal finishes this season in a breakout year on tour. She defeated Rogers Grand Slam Cup champ Val Sweeting of Edmonton in the quarters and Jacqueline Harrison of Mississauga, Ont., in the semis.

The team of Hasselborg, third Sara McManus, second Agnes Knochenhauer and lead Sofia Mabergs captured two titles on the year, the Oakville OCT Fall Classic and the Stockholm Ladies Cup, with the latter earning them one of the tour-eligible spots for the Humpty’s Champions Cup.

Hasselborg defeated Homan to earn the gold medal at the 2010 world junior championship.

Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., clashes with Calgary’s own Kevin Koe in the men’s final to close out the season. Watch at 4 p.m. ET on Sportsnet One and 360, online at Sportsnet Now (Canada) or gsoc.yaretv.com (international).