KENORA, ONT. - For Sudbury skip Tracy Horgan, the third time is indeed a charm.†
After twice losing to Ottawa's Rachel Homan in Ontario Scotties Tournament of Hearts play this week in Kenora, Horgan upset the previously undefeated -- and defending 2011 champion -- rink 7-6 in the final Sunday to earn a berth at the national Tournament of Hearts meet in Red Deer, Alta., next month.†
"Words can't even describe it," said Horgan, who clawed her way into the final with a 7-3 semi-final win over Sherry Middaugh Sunday morning after losing the Page one-two playoff to Homan on Saturday. †
"It's amazing," she said. "It's a dream come true. I'm just so proud of my team. They played amazing all week and they really stood by me this game."
In the fifth end of the final, Horgan muffed a shot to offer up a single that gave Homan a 5-2 advantage. She admitted things were looking bad. †
"After the fifth end I was in pretty rough shape," Horgan said, "but then my team really pumped me back up."
Horgan scored a pair in the sixth and a single in the eighth before Homan missed her own shot with the hammer in the final end, allowing the Sudbury skip to steal a pair for the one-point win and a trip to the nationals.†
"We lost the final two years ago and the semi final last year, so we've been working really hard the last couple of years and it's nice to finally achieve our big goal," Horgan said.
Horgan finished round-robin play in second place with a 7-2 record but lost to Homan, who entered the final with a perfect 10-0 mark, in the playoff round. That forced the Sudbury rink of lead Amanda Gates, second Jenna Enge and third Jennifer Seabrook into an early semi-final with Middaugh.†
Rather than throw the young squad off its rhythm, Horgan said the early morning win over Middaugh put a spring in her step.†
"I think it was a little confidence boost," she said. "The Middaugh team is a very strong team, so I think wining that game gave us a little bit of a confidence boost coming into the final."