Chelsea Carey, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jocelyn Peterman and Laine Peters raise the Meridian Canadian Open trophy following their title win Sunday in Camrose, Alta. (Anil Mungal)

Carey claims 1st GSOC title at Canadian Open

January 21, 2018, 5:21 PM

CAMROSE, Alta. — Chelsea Carey has got it capturing her first career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title.

Carey claimed the Meridian Canadian Open women’s championship after doubling up on Michelle Englot’s Winnipeg team 10-5 in Sunday’s final an Encana Arena.

The Calgary crew of Carey, third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Laine Peters earned $30,000 plus a berth in the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup taking place April 24-29 in their hometown at WinSport Arena.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Carey said. “These events are the pinnacle of the best field in the world. That’s how people get in and to come out against a field like that and be able to come out on top is huge.”

While it was a first for Carey, Peterman and Peters, Overton-Clapham earned her sixth title in the series. The Curling Canada Hall of Fame inductee joined the team this season and lost in the Meridian Canadian Open final last year to Casey Scheidegger on a steal in the eighth end while she was subbing at third for Silvana Tirinzoni.

“We had a great opportunity to win that and we didn’t so it was certainly nice to get our name on that trophy,” Overton-Clapham said. “To win with our team, we had a great season, we lost a couple of really tough finals but to actually win one is going to be pretty special.”

Team Carey entered the fourth Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament of the season on a series of down endings with crushing defeats at the Canadian Olympic curling trials, mixed doubles trials and Alberta Scotties.

“We’ve had a little bit of heartbreak recently,” Carey said. “It’s nice to turn that around, come out on top, be the champs and get a spot in the Champions Cup in our home city. There are so many good things that come from that so that felt really pretty amazing.”

If Carey’s club was feeling deflated, they sure weren’t showing it here this week running through the tournament with a 6-1 record. The lone blemish came in their opener against Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson, who they’ll face again Friday in Penticton, B.C., for the wild-card spot in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

“We’ve been close. One or two shots in events that could make or break the weekend,” Overton-Clapham said. “We lost our first game here and we battled back. We had some really strong games. It probably wasn’t our best team game today but there were some big shots, everyone made some big shots throughout the game that put us on the winning side of it so it’s pretty exciting to win.”

Carey crushed Englot 10-3 during the Olympic trials and 8-1 here to qualify through the B-side, but it’s been a different story since that meeting. Englot got through the last-chance C event, topped A-qualifier Allison Flaxey in the quarterfinals and nine-time Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling champion Jennifer Jones in the semis.

“We never expected them to be lopsided,” Carey said. “They’re a very good team. We always think we’re going to have to play our best.”

The 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Carey took two in the first but swung and miss on a takeout in the second as her last flew by untouched. That allowed Englot to ease her last into the house to knot it up.

Facing two, Carey doubled both counters aside and scored a huge three-ender in the third.

The fourth end was all about missed opportunities. Carey hit and rolled out on her last to leave Englot a sudden opportunity to strike for the equalizing three and keep pace. Englot couldn’t quite cash it in as she also landed off the nose on Carey’s other stone and slid across and out the rings for only two points closing the gap 5-4.

“Unfortunately, I got a little fooled on a straight spot in two, flashed a hit and gave them a deuce there,” Carey said. “Then we got into a bit of trouble with some spots. It surprised us a bit with the ice and giving them the two and the three back. It was a roller coaster of a game but we just hung in there and hung in there and we played a pretty good back half. That’s all we needed.”

Englot looked to have locked on for shot stone in five, but Carey broke out the anti-freeze to kick it out the side to ace it and hold a two-point advantage.

The force was strong in the sixth with Englot hitting, rolling and catching her own to stick around for a single.

A great peel to blank the seventh, while narrowly avoiding the guard, gave Carey the hammer coming home and she put an exclamation mark on the match doubling down again to score four.

Carey was confident about the shot after already throwing it on her first one.

“I knew it was a pretty straight spot so I as long as I didn’t set it too much they could hold it with sweeping, which is exactly what happened,” Carey said. “Laine gets more credit than me. She basically made that shot for me, thankfully, so I felt good about.”

Later, Peter de Cruz of Switzerland also earned his first GSOC title stealing two in the eighth to edge Sweden’s Niklas Edin 5-3 for the men’s championship.