Team Harrison celebrate their victory over Team Homan during the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

Harrison ousts Homan in Meridian Canadian Open C-finals

January 7, 2017, 12:46 PM

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Jacqueline Harrison stunned world No. 1 ranked Rachel Homan for the second time this week to knock out the defending champion at the Meridian Canadian Open.

After scoring the victory in their opening A side match, Harrison eliminated the five-time Grand Slam winner Homan 7-3 in Saturday morning’s C-qualifier round.

“It’s our first Grand Slam playoff appearance so we’re really excited,” said Harrison, who earned a spot in the event by winning the Tour Challenge Tier 2 title. “We’re happy we were able to play a great game and things went our way.”

It’s the first time Homan has missed the playoffs in a Grand Slam following 18 straight appearances. Homan got out to a slow start at the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament losing her first pair of games before winning two straight to level her record.

Facing two counters, Homan drew for one in the first. Harrison made a great runback with her first skip stone to set the table for an easy draw for two on her last to take the lead. The teams split singles in three and four and Homan settled for another lone marker in five to knot it up.

Harrison eased her last of the sixth in for another deuce to reclaim the lead and stole one in the seventh to make it a three-point advantage when Homan crashed on top of a guard with her last. Homan needed to make a desperate Hail Mary throw with the final rock of the game, but couldn’t get it and shook hands.

“I actually missed a draw for two in the one end there so not the happiest about that,” Harrison said. “But we were able to get a couple of deuces and were just able to finish out the game.”

The pair of wins over Homan bodes well for Team Harrison, of Mississauga, Ont., heading into provincials.

“We played them on a few occasions before and things didn’t go our way. It’s nice to come away from the Slam here and into the playoffs with a couple of victories over them heading into provincials,” Harrison said. “I’m sure it’ll be some good match-ups going forward.”

Homan got off to a slow start at the event also losing to Casey Scheidegger in the B-side to drop to 0-2 and into the C. The Ottawa native then won two straight over Anna Sidorova and Briane Meilleur to level her record.

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Elsewhere, Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., held on for a 6-5 victory over Michelle Englot’s Winnipeg-based team.

After blanking the first, Englot clipped a guard with her last in the second to only nudge one of Fleury’s rocks and give up a steal of three. Fleury put the pressure on holding Englot to one in the third and drew for three more points in the fourth and a five-point advantage. The tide turned as Englot took two in the fifth and stole one in the sixth and another in seven to draw within one, but couldn’t get the steal train going.

Scheidegger, of Lethbridge, Alta., qualified for the playoffs in her first-ever elite Grand Slam event with a 9-4 victory over Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque.

NOTES: The Meridian Canadian Open is the fourth event and third major of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. … Teams had to win three games before they lost three in order to qualify for the playoffs. … TV coverage resumes at 1 p.m. ET on CBC with the men’s quarterfinals featuring Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock against Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L. … Winners of the Meridian Canadian Open earn spots for the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup taking place at the end of April in Calgary.