OLDS, Alta. — Team Kerri Einarson stole the winning point in the eighth end to edge Team Rachel Homan 5-4 during pool play Wednesday afternoon in the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup.
The three-time reigning Canadian champions from Gimli, Man., moved up to a 2-0 record in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season finale taking place at the Olds Sportsplex.
Although it’s the last event of the year and the Olympic cycle, Team Einarson third Val Sweeting said their intensity level is the same where it’s always at.
“We’re super happy to be in the Champions Cup,” Sweeting said. “It’s such a fun event and a great way to cap off the season. We just want to string things together and go as far as we can.”
Einarson opened with the hammer and attempted to blank the first end, however, her shooter stuck around for a single. Homan made an open hit for a deuce in the second and stole one in the third to run up 3-1.
After Einarson was held to one in the fourth, Homan wrecked on a guard in the fifth to give up a point and tie it 3-3.
The force was strong on May the 4th as the teams alternated singles in six and seven and Homan (1-1) held the hammer in the final frame all square at 4-4. The 11-time Grand Slam champion from Ottawa came up light on her last shot.
“We got away with it in the end there,” Sweeting said. “We just kind of struggled to pick up on the ice early. It was a gritty win, that’s for sure.”
Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni also improved to a 2-0 record with a 5-4 victory over Team Tabitha Peterson (0-2) from the United States.
In men’s division action, Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe (2-0) earned a 7-3 decision over Toronto’s Team John Epping (0-2) and Winnipeg’s Team Jason Gunnlaugson (1-1) scored two in the eighth and stole one in the extra end for a 4-3 upset over Team Bruce Mouat (0-2) of Scotland.
The defending champions Team Mouat have alternate Ross Whyte playing third for Grant Hardie (personal commitments).
The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup continues with Draw 6 starting at 4 p.m. local time.
Both divisions are split into two groups of six for pool play. The best six teams overall qualify for the playoffs with the top two receiving byes to the semifinals.
Pool play runs through to Friday with the quarterfinals and semifinals scheduled for Saturday and both finals set for Sunday.
Live coverage of the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup begins Thursday at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).
The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup is the fourth and final Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the 2021-22 season featuring 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams who have won top tour titles in order to qualify. … A combined $210,000 prize purse is up for grabs with the winning teams earning $25,000 plus berths to next year’s KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup.