Jones scores 'massive win' over Homan in Players’ Championship

Rachel Homan talked about winning the Humpty's Champions Cup just weeks after giving birth to her daughter, saying she's "excited but also a little tired."

Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones got back into the win column with an 8-4 victory over Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan during Thursday morning action in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship.

Team Jones improved to a 2-1 round-robin record in the second of back-to-back Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events inside the bubble and closed to the public at Calgary’s WinSport Arena.

“It was a massive win for us,” said Jones, who shot 94 per cent. “We really knew that we needed to win that game today if we wanted to give ourselves a chance. Just wanted to come out and play well and I thought we played well through the entire game, which was great.”

It was a battle between the two most decorated women’s skips in the series. Homan captured her record-extending 11th women’s title Monday in the Humpty’s Champions Cup. Jones is right behind with nine women’s titles including six at the Players’ Championship.

Team Jones alternate Lisa Weagle, who won 10 Grand Slam titles with Homan, is in at lead as Dawn McEwen gave birth to her second child late last week. Weagle toss at a 90 per cent clip and Jones said she’s fit in so well.

“She’s just such a great person and a great teammate,” said Jones, who added Weagle as an alternate following the conclusion of last season. “She’s played outstanding all year. Today was a normal game for her and it’s in the 90s. She’s super consistent, makes a ton of shots but it’s also how she’s a teammate on and off the ice. She brings so much to our team and we’re lucky she joined the team and is part of our team going forward.”

Jones broke a 1-1 tie in the third scoring a huge five-ender and said she was liking how the end was going and knew they just needed one mistake from Homan to break the game wide open.

“That definitely changed the game for sure,” Jones said. “We had a couple around a guard and it was looking pretty good. We also had a couple of biters just around the rings. Unfortunately for Rachel, she was just trying to throw a freeze to leave us a draw for three and it rubbed off and allowed me to have a double. The girls swept it great and we made it for five.”

After Homan charged back with a deuce in four, Jones matched taking two in five. Homan was forced to just a single in six and conceded the match to drop to a 1-2 record.

FOPPA MEMORIES: We posted a story Wednesday about Sweden’s Niklas Edin growing up in hockey-mad Örnsköldsvik and how that shaped him into the person and the curler he is today. O-vik, as it’s known, is home to the Modo hockey club that has produced superstars such as Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Victor Hedman and many others.

All of them are great hockey players but can any of them curl? Actually, yes.

Forsberg threw the ceremonial first rock for the 2014 Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup and Jones said it was a cool experience to meet the two-time Olympic and Stanley Cup champion.

“I’m a huge sports fan and obviously he’s one of the best to ever play hockey,” said Jones, who won Olympic gold in 2014. “He was just a great guy. He totally embraced it and he was all about having fun being out there and enjoying it. He was asking us a bunch of questions. He was just a normal, everyday guy; an outstanding person. … I’m glad that we had the opportunity to do that.”

DRAW 9 ROUNDUP: Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., is still very much in it to win it after grabbing their second straight victory to go to a 2-2 record. Team Fleury, with Calgary’s Chelsea Carey skipping, scored a deuce in the seventh and stole one in the eighth to defeat Team Tabitha Peterson from Chaska, Minn., 7-4.

Fleury missed the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in February as her young daughter Nina was diagnosed with infantile spasms in November. Carey filled in for that event and was given another opportunity here this week as Fleury planned to play in only the Humpty’s Champions Cup. Peterson, who will represent the United States in the upcoming women’s worlds, dropped to 0-3.

Humpty’s Champions Cup runners-up Team Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland ran rough to score a 10-3 victory over Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man. Tirinzoni scored a field goal in the first and stole deuces in back-to-back ends to lead by a touchdown and extra point. Einarson took three in the fourth but trailed by the still football-esque score of 7-3 at halftime. The reigning world champion Tirinzoni didn’t ease up adding two more points in five and a single steal in six.

Team Elena Stern of Switzerland scored four in the eighth end to defeat Team Min-Ji Kim of South Korea 6-3. Stern improved to 2-2 while Kim is now at 2-1.

Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., scored a deuce in the sixth and stole three in the eighth end to escape with a 6-2 win over Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin. Both men’s teams hold identical 2-2 records.

Two more draws are on the docket Thursday with play continuing at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT on Sportsnet ONE and online at Sportsnet Now (Canada) and Yare (international).

DRAW 8 ROUNDUP: Winnipeg’s Team McEwen also moved up to a 2-1 record scoring a single in the eighth end to win 6-5 over Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe (0-3).

Third Reid Carruthers is handling interim skip duties with McEwen at home to be with his wife and newborn. Tyler Tardi is filling in at third with second Derek Samagalski rounding out the lineup as a trio. Lead Colin Hodgson (personal) opted out of competing in the Grand Slam events.

Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa is also playing short-handed and climbed to a 2-1 record. Fujisawa scored two in the sixth and stole singles in the final two ends to win 7-4 and hand RCF’s Team Alina Kovaleva (2-1) their first loss of the tournament.

Team Fujisawa lead Yurika Yoshida is preparing for the world mixed doubles championship with Fujisawa, third Chinami Yoshida and second Yumi Suzuki competing as three.

Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg (2-1) gave Scotland’s Eve Muirhead the birthday beats in a 7-1 rout. The reigning Olympic gold medallist Hasselborg converted for a deuce in the second, stole one in the third and two in the fourth. The now 31-year-old Muirhead was held to a single in five and Hasselborg tacked two more points on the board in six. Team Muirhead dropped to 0-3.

NOTES: The Princess Auto Players’ Championship features 12 of the top men’s teams and 12 of the top women’s teams from around the world. ... Both divisions are split into two pools for round-robin play with the top six overall qualifying for Saturday’s quarterfinals. ... The semifinals go down Saturday evening with both championship games scheduled for Sunday.

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