Homan posts key wins at world curling championship
Canada's skip Rachel Homan directs Alison Kreviazuk, left, and Lisa Weagle, right, as they play Germany at the world women's curling championship in Riga, Latvia on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. (The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013 6:42AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 20, 2013 4:25PM EDT
RIGA, Latvia -- Canada's Rachel Homan posted two key victories Wednesday to significantly improve her chances of reaching the playoffs at the world women's curling championship.
She beat Germany's Andrea Schopp 8-5 in the morning draw and followed with a 7-4 win over Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni in the evening at the Volvo Sports Center. Homan improved to 6-3 and was tied with Russia in third place with one day of round-robin play left to go.
"We needed two wins to be a little bit more comfortable," Homan said. "But it feels really good to play the way we did. I'm really proud of my team for pulling together and making those big shots and pulling through in the end.
"It was a really great day for my team."
Canada was tested by the Swiss side and held a slim 4-3 lead after seven ends. Homan slid her last rock of the eighth end into a crowded four-foot ring to score three and put the game out of reach.
Homan had an impressive 94 per cent shooting percentage while Tirinzoni was at 86 per cent. Canada shot 88 per cent as a team compared to just 75 per cent for Switzerland.
The top four rinks will qualify for the playoffs.
Homan will play China and Japan on Thursday. She can lock up a tiebreaker appearance with one victory and can earn a playoff spot with two wins.
Earlier in the day, the Canadian players looked solid against the veteran German skip.
"Maybe once or twice the lines tricked us and that was pretty frustrating but it was a really well-played game by my team," Homan said. "We're just trying to hang in there with the ice and we pulled it out."
Germany scored three heading into the halftime break but Canada regained the lead with a deuce in the sixth. Homan added a single in the seventh and stole another point in the eighth when Schopp missed a double takeout attempt.
Schopp drew for a single in the ninth but Homan had the advantage with the hammer in the final end.
The Canadian team posted an 83 per cent shooting percentage for the game while Germany was at 77 per cent. Homan hit 86 per cent of her shots, well ahead of Schopp at 73 per cent.
A few dozen fans were on hand for the morning draw. A pocket of flag-waving Canadian fans cheered on the Ottawa Curling Club team.
Attendance improved for the late draw with a few hundred fans taking in the action at the 1,000-seat venue.
Sweden beat Russia 10-3 on Wednesday night and Scotland doubled Italy 8-4. Sweden and Scotland remained tied in first place at 8-1 and both rinks have qualified for the playoffs.
Switzerland and the United States were tied in fifth place at 5-4 while Japan and China were 4-5. Germany and Denmark were next at 3-6, followed by 2-7 Italy and winless Latvia at 0-9.
This is Homan's first appearance at this tournament. She's hoping to win Canada's first world women's title since Jennifer Jones was victorious in 2008.
Heather Nedohin skipped Canada to a bronze medal at the 2012 world championship in Lethbridge, Alta. Switzerland's Mirjam Ott won gold last year.