Rachel Homan shoots a stone during the Meridian Canadian Open women's quarterfinals on Jan. 12, 2019, in North Battleford, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

Homan, Muirhead stay undefeated at Canadian Open

January 12, 2019, 4:05 PM

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan and Team Eve Muirhead of Scotland kept their perfect records intact in the Meridian Canadian Open.

Team Homan and Team Muirhead both qualified for the women’s playoffs at 3-0 through the A-side of the triple knockout and added another to their win totals in Saturday’s quarterfinals at Civic Centre.

Homan nipped Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., 4-3 while Muirhead punted Edmonton’s Team Chelsea Carey 10-3 in only five ends.

The crew of Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle have won eight consecutive Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling games with an impressive 25-6 overall win-loss record in the series on the season. Homan captured her record-tying ninth Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s title last month at the Boost National and is aiming for double digits.

Scheidegger, who won the Meridian Canadian Open at Civic Centre two years ago in her top-tier series debut, qualified out of the C Event with a 3-2 record. The Meridian Canadian Open is the only one of the seven Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournaments to feature triple knockout — instead of round-robin pools — where teams must win three games before they lose three in order to qualify for the playoffs.

The quarterfinal game was evenly matched with Homan hitting for two points in the second and Scheidegger responding with a draw for a deuce in three. Homan was limited to a point in the fourth. Scheidegger blanked back-to-back ends and looked to score the elusive two-pointer in the seventh with one in her pocket protected on the button, but she had to settle for just the tying single as her draw didn’t curl enough to get the two.

Homan wrecked her first skip stone in eight clicking a guard over to block the out-turn draw path that could have led to disaster. Scheidegger guarded the other line with her last rock, or so it seemed, as it forced Homan into a tricky wide in-turn draw that landed right on target at the back of the button.

Team Homan will now face Team Nina Roth in the semifinals after the United States squad eliminated Edmonton’s Team Laura Walker 6-3 in a battle of B-qualifiers.

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Meanwhile, Muirhead put her game against Carey out of reach early scoring a rare seven-ender in the first frame.

Team Muirhead will take on Team Silvana Tirinzoni in the semifinals after the Swiss side shaded North Battleford’s own Team Robyn Silvernagle 6-1. The hometown heroes received the sponsor’s exemption for the tournament and advanced out of the B Event at 3-1, coincidentally defeating Tirinzoni to qualify.

The men’s playoff picture was set Saturday morning following the conclusion of their C Event finals. Toronto’s Team John Epping edged out Team Peter de Cruz of Switzerland 5-3, Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., scored four in the seventh end to finish Regina’s Team Matt Dunstone 8-2 and Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin clipped Winnipeg’s Team Braden Calvert 7-5 to advance.

Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher and Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat both went 3-0 through the A Event to take the top seeds. Bottcher plays Jacobs and Mouat meets Edin in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m. local time.

Epping is aligned with Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe (B-qualifier; 3-1 record) while Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., go up against Team Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont. (both B-qualifiers at 3-1) in the other two matches.

Broadcast coverage resumes with the men’s quarterfinals at 4 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. CT on Sportsnet followed by the men’s and women’s semifinals at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT on Sportsnet 360. Both finals are scheduled for Sunday.

Online streaming is available for all playoff draws at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: The Meridian Canadian Open is the fifth event and third major of the 2018-19 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. … Standard Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling rules apply: games are played to eight ends, the five-rock rule is in effect and teams receive 33 minutes of thinking time plus two, 90-second timeouts. … The combined purse is $250,000 with the winning teams earning $30,000 plus berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup.