Team Flaxey hug after winning the 2016 Masters in Okotoks, Alta. (Anil Mungal)

TBT: Flaxey wins 1st GSOC title at 2016 Masters

October 19, 2017, 5:13 PM

Throwback Thursday (TBT) digs through the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling archives to revisit major moments of the series. This week we take another look at the 2016 Masters in Okotoks, Alta.

The next episode: We left you with a cliffhanger last week following Team Edin’s historic first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title victory at the 2016 Masters. Now, let’s check out the women’s division where there also was a first-time winner (spoiler alert: If the title and picture above weren’t already a giveaway, it was Team Flaxey).

The Caledon, Ont., crew of skip Allison Flaxey, third Clancy Grandy, second Lynn Kreviazuk and lead Morgan Court hadn’t qualified for the playoffs in a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event before, so they were certainly a darkhorse pick to win entering the tournament and they knew it just as much.

“I don’t think anybody here really knew that we were going to be the ones to come out on top,” Kreviazuk said following the title victory. “There were a few of us, including our coach [Caleb Flaxey] and our few fans in the stands. We were kind of the underdogs of the week, so it’s really nice to be able to now have our name out there.”

Flaxey opened the Masters with a win over Jennifer Jones, but back-to-back losses to Binia Feltscher and Anna Sidorova dropped her record to 1-2 and in must-win mode from there on out to avoid elimination. A convincing 8-3 victory over Chelsea Carey brought things level and kept Flaxey in contention, however, a poor draw-to-the-button shootout score meant a trip through the tiebreaker stage and needing three victories on the penultimate day of the tournament in order to reach Championship Sunday.

That’s when thievery became the theme. Flaxey faced Kerri Einarson in the tiebreakers and rode the “steal train” breaking a tie game swiping one in the fifth, two in the sixth and another point in seven to win 6-2.

Flaxey stole two points to start the quarterfinals against top-seed EunJung Kim, who went 4-0 in the round-robin, and never looked back. Up 3-2 at the break, Flaxey scored a deuce in five to extend her lead and added steals of one in the sixth and two in the seventh to advance with an 8-2 victory.

No surprise, Flaxey powered past Silvana Tirinzoni in the semifinals thanks to stolen points as well. Without the hammer, Flaxey took one in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth for a commanding 7-0 lead. Tirinzoni settled for a single in the fifth to break the shutout, but it was handshakes after the following end with Flaxey tacking on another point to win 8-1.

Meanwhile, Rachel Homan had won the Masters three times in the previous four seasons and made it to the final once again through the other side of the bracket. Homan, who went 3-1 through the round-robin, defeated Jones 7-5 in the quarterfinals and Anna Hasselborg 7-4 in the semis to reach the championship game.

Homan started with the hammer but guess what? Flaxey stole a point in the opening end to get on the scoreboard first. After a single in the second tied it, Homan turned the tables and stole a point in the fourth to lead 2-1 at halftime. That’s when Flaxey turned on the jets and had Homan in trouble during the fifth end. Flaxey made an open hit with her last to score four points and take control 5-2.

Team Flaxey didn’t ease up knowing Team Homan could easily reply with a three-count of their own.

“Even scoring that big end that we did it still felt like it was such a close game,” Kreviazuk said. “It was always 0-0 in our minds or 1-1. We were really comfortable, however, so we never took that for granted. Being up, we knew that they’re a seriously very strong team, so we knew we just needed to continue to make our shots.”

The teams alternated singles in six and seven as Flaxey regained the three-point advantage 6-3 heading into the final frame. Homan held the hammer coming home, but Flaxey secured the championship with an open hit on the lone opposite rock in the house with her first skip stone.

“We know that they always bring their A-game, so we had to bring it one level higher,” Kreviazuk said. “I’m happy that we did that.”


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Caleb and Allison Flaxey hug after their team’s title victory at the Masters. (Anil Mungal)


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When in Alberta: Team Flaxey celebrate their Masters title win in style. (Anil Mungal)


The Masters makes its way to the Centennial Civic Centre in Lloydminster, Sask., from Oct. 24-29. Single draw tickets, full-event and weekend passes are now available at Lloydgsoc.goigniter.com.

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