THORNHILL -- Rachel Homan looks to be starting her women's curling career like she ended her junior days.
Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Ontario junior crowns, the Ottawa skip shares first place at the provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts with last year's runner- up, Tracy Horgan of Sudbury Idylwylde, at 3-0.
Homan and her rink of Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lisa Weagle scored four in the eighth to seal a 10-5 third-round win over Lisa Farnell of Loonie Tuesday night at the Thornhill Golf and Country Club.
"That was a close one tonight; both teams played well," Homan said. "We really capitalized in the eighth and that felt pretty good. We had a bad first end --they took two and could have had three -- but it was kind of a wakeup call. We regrouped and were able to take three the next end.
"I think we haven't played 100% yet and that's a good thing. You don't want to be peaking at this point in the week."
Horgan, last year's runner-up, and her team of Jennifer Seabrook, Jenna Enge and Amanda Gates kept pace with an 11-8 win over Alison Goring of The Club at North Halton, scoring two in the ninth and stealing two in the 10th.
"I think last year gave us the confidence we could keep it close at this level," Horgan said. "We were just happy to make it as far as we did last year; we didn't have the expectation of doing that well. This year, we hope to take it one step farther."
Two-time defending champion Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay Fort William rebounded from a heart-breaking second-draw loss to Lisa Farnell of the Loonie CC in Elgin earlier in the day to post her first victory, stealing one in the 10th to beat Susan McKnight 7-6 and drop the Uxbridge skip to 2-1.
"We definitely needed that," McCarville said with a big sigh of relief. "I felt we played a better game this afternoon, the result just didn't go our way. We just needed something to give us a boost and this was scary, but we'll take it."
McCarville's game against Farnell was by far the most bizarre of the week so far. McCarville trailed 5-0 after five ends, but stormed back to lead 6-5 after nine. And she appeared to have the insurance point sewn up in the 10th when Farnell made a long raise takeout to score two for a 7-6 win.
"Oh, man," Farnell said of the roller-coaster ride, which started to get
interesting in the sixth when McCarville made a nice in-off for two. "Games can go any way and obviously we would have liked to have played better in the second half, but as long as we pulled it out, that's all that counts."
Farnell could have played an outturn draw for the tying point, "but that's a tough shot even to score one," she said. "Honestly, I was just looking to score one on the shot I threw. I had to throw it perfectly to get the two and fortunately I did."
Farnell said the key wasn't to let McCarville's comeback get to her rink, which includes Erin Morrissey, Kim Brown and Aisnley Galbraith.
"You've got to think you can't panic," Farnell said. "You can't think of the momentum, you just have to think about where you are in that end. We had a couple of misses, which is frustrating, but this was a real morale-booster after the way we lost Monday (10-7 to Horgan). It was basically a pick that gave up a steal of two (in the ninth) and if we'd lost another heartbreaker, it would have been tough to come back. But we're still in this."
McKnight and Ashley Kallos of Fort William, who scored two in the 10th to beat Marlo Dahl of Thunder Bay Port Arthur 8-7 in the third draw, are at 2-1. Dahl, Goring, McCarville, Farnell and Kristy Russell of shelburne are all 1-2 while Marika Bakewell of London Highland is 0-3.
In the other third-draw games, Russell thumped Bakewell 8-1. Elsewhere in the second draw, McKnight won a seesaw game with Goring 8-6, Horgan edged Bakewell 7-6, Kallos beat Russell 7-2 and Homan cruised past Dahl 8-2.