SYDNEY, N.S. — Playing a Scotties rookie with a berth in the final on the line, Alberta’s Chelsea Carey bided her time in the 1-2 Page Playoff game.
When Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle finally made a big mistake, Carey pounced for a lead she wouldn’t relinquish.
Carey posted an 11-7 victory on Saturday night at Centre 200 to move one win away from a second career national women’s title.
Silvernagle’s final shot in the seventh stopped well short and Carey took advantage after setting up the end nicely. Her come-around tapback gave her four points and full control.
"I think those were some of the only shots I made that game," Carey said. "But I made the big ones when it counted, which I guess is all that matters."
Silvernagle fell into the Sunday afternoon semifinal against Ontario’s Rachel Homan, who posted a 6-4 win in the 3-4 Page game to eliminate Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville.
The semifinal winner will play Carey for the title on Sunday night.
After giving up an early deuce, Silvernagle rebounded with three points in the second end. Her draw weight was in form but the miss in the seventh was her undoing.
Carey’s draws were heavy early on but she made a great throw in the fifth end to freeze on the button. Silvernagle tried a tricky runback but was a little wide and gave up a steal.
After losing the lead in the seventh, Silvernagle caught a break in the eighth end when Carey’s takeout jammed to allow the Saskatchewan skip to draw for two.
Carey, who won the Scotties in 2016 with a different team, was forced to one in the ninth but Silvernagle gave up a steal of two in the 10th end.
"Welcome to the five-rock rule, right? It’s never over until it’s over," Silvernagle said. "You can never count yourself out. It gives a team a chance when they’re down in points. You just have to be that good."
Earlier, Homan played the percentages in a clinical victory over McCarville.
Homan elected to hit and stick for a single and 5-3 lead in the eighth rather than blank the end. That gave hammer to McCarville — who led all teams with 21 steals — and forced her to try to create offence.
With lots of rocks in play in the ninth, Homan nailed a hit to take away any hope of a McCarville deuce. When Northern Ontario settled for a single, it gave Ontario what it desired — a one-point lead with hammer coming home.
The plan worked to perfection as Homan cleared two stones with her final throw for the win.
"We just wanted to manage the scoreboard," she said.
Ontario coach Marcel Rocque pointed out Homan was 11-2 in one-point games with hammer this season and 5-0 in extra ends with hammer. He said the rink is getting more and more comfortable in that situation.
"You can see the fruits of our work and our labour," Rocque said. "Now they’re looking for it and they feel confident with it."
Northern Ontario made a few mistakes in the opening end. Third Kendra Lilly flashed a stone to give Ontario a chance to score three.
However, McCarville bailed out her team with a great double takeout to prevent a big end. Homan, a three-time Scotties champion, was held to an opening deuce.
Homan delivered a double takeout of her own in the second end and forced McCarville to one point. The teams exchanged singles with Homan drawing the four-foot to take a 4-2 lead into the mid-game break.
McCarville was hoping to score a pair in the sixth end but barely missed an angle runback. Northern Ontario did manage a single on a measure.
Homan, a three-time champion, deliberately threw through the house in the seventh.
"She’s a great player but you’ve got to put the heat on," said Northern Ontario coach Rick Lang. "We didn’t put enough heat on tonight."
Northern Ontario lead Sarah Potts shot 96 per cent to lead all players. Her teammates had mediocre numbers as Ontario shot 82 per cent overall to 73 per cent for Northern Ontario.
"We just didn’t really have any opportunities to get the deuce or anything going today," McCarville said. "It was just a little bit of a struggle."
This is the second year the Scotties has used a 16-team format. Eight teams were cut after the preliminary round and four more were trimmed Friday night after the championship round.
The Scotties winner will represent Canada at the March 16-24 women’s world championship in Silkeborg, Denmark.
The Canadian men’s curling championship — the Tim Hortons Brier — is set for March 1-10 in Brandon, Man.
Notes: Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in attendance for both games. … Homan, Emma Miskew, Northern Ontario second Jen Gates and Canada lead Dawn McEwen were named to the first all-star team. McCarville, Lilly, Ontario second Joanne Courtney and Potts were named to the second team. … Potts was also named the winner of the sportsmanship award. … Curling Canada announced the 2021 Olympic Trials will be held at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.