TORONTO — Edmonton’s Val Sweeting and Niklas Edin of Sweden have clinched the Rogers Grand Slam Cup with their semifinal victories Sunday at the WestJet Players’ Championship.
Sweeting stole a point in the eighth end to stun Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg 6-5 while Edin topped Scotland’s Kyle Smith 6-2 to score the overall season titles in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series.
Both teams cash in $75,000 bonuses with their Rogers Grand Slam Cup victories.
For the team of Sweeting, third Lori Olson-Johns, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown, the title was just out of reach the past couple years, but it all worked out for them this season and are gunning to capture the WestJet Players’ Championship to top off a great week.
“It just worked out that the wrong team, I think Muirhead hooked us a couple years in a row, they were the only team that couldn’t win and then we’d be in and then they did,” Sweeting said. “I think just to have a consistent year in the Slams, minus the Masters, I’m really proud of the team this week and we’re happy to be in the final.
“We’ll definitely go and leave it all out there. Even though we may have won the Rogers Grand Slam Cup we still want to have a good final. We’d love to win the Players’ Championship. It’s been a great event so far, so we’d love to cap it off with a win.”
The Tour Challenge victor Sweeting opened with hammer, made a double takeout on her first skip stone to set up the blank in one and hit and rolled out on her last. Forced to draw for one in the second, Sweeting came up short and gave up a point. Hasselborg came around to draw in-between two Sweeting stones, but Sweeting sprung it loose to score her deuce and go up 2-1.
Hasselborg handed a steal in four as she attempted a double takeout getting the first one but her shooter rolled high and missed the second. Sweeting was light and tight on a guard with her last in five, allowing Hasselborg to draw for four and pull back into the lead 5-3.
Sweeting took two in the sixth tie it up. Hasselborg blanked in seven and had to draw on her last but couldn’t take out Sweeting’s shot stone.
“Obviously don’t want to give up four but it was just kind of one of those really bad ends that you just have to shake off and get the deuce back and that’s what we did,” Sweeting said. “I thought the team played really well and it was a good game overall. It was exciting to play and we would’ve walked out of there proud of ourselves no matter what, but definitely a huge steal and we’re pretty happy about that.”
Sweeting will play five-time Players’ winner Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg in the final. Jones trounced Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland 8-3. Watch the final live on Sportsnet at 7 p.m. ET.
It’s been a banner season for the Karlstad-based team of Edin, third Oskar Eriksson, second Rasmus Wrana and Christoffer Sundgren as they captured the WFG Masters and Tour Challenge titles to kick off the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season with their first couple titles in the series. Their win at the WFG Masters was the first Grand Slam championship for a non-Canadian men’s team. Edin also finished runner-up to Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., in the Meridian Canadian Open final.
Gushue was the only other one in the running for the Rogers Grand Slam Cup, but needed to face Smith in the WestJet Players’ Championship final and defeat him to surpass Edin in points.
“That was the big thing about this weekend and obviously about the second half of the season too,” Edin said. “Worlds was really big but we almost felt like this one was bigger having been in a struggle the last few years, economically. We’re just making a living so this one was a big one winning this bonus.
“Winning the whole Rogers Grand Slam Cup too that’s a unique opportunity for our team. We might not get the chance again so we felt this was maybe our best game we’ve played so far.”
Edin plays Mike McEwen for the title after the Winnipeg skip scored a deuce in the eighth end to clip the defending champ Gushue 5-4.
It is the third time McEwen has reached the final in the WestJet Players’ Championship at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. He lost in the title games to Glenn Howard in 2013 and Brad Jacobs in 2015.
Gushue entered the event fresh off of winning the world championship posting a perfect 13-0 record en route to gold last Sunday in Edmonton.
All four finalists have already earned their berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup running April 25-30 at WinSport Arena in Calgary. As a result, the 15th and final spots for the event will go to tour winners Alina Paetz of Switzerland and Scotland’s Tom Brewster.