|Ontario skip Rachel Homan delivers a shot behind lead Lisa Weagle and second Alison Kreviazuk against Newfoundland/Labrador. (REUTERS/Shaun Best)
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — It’s still too early to say there’s a new sheriff in this town, but Amber Holland of Saskatchewan and Ontario’s Rachel Homan are the sharpest shooters through two days of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Holland took down three-time defending champion Jennifer Jones Sunday afternoon, then hogtied P.E.I. favourite Suzanne Birt, 10-6, at night to grab a share of first place at 3-0.
Homan, just 21, has the other share, after a perfect day that saw her wallop Newfoundland 7-1, before nosing out Alberta, 10-7, in a last-rock, Sunday-night thriller.
A perfect day, but not perfect curling, the ever-confident Homan pointed out.
“I don’t think anyone’s at 100%, but that’s a good thing, not to start out at 100%,” the Ottawa native said, a grin on her face and twinkle in her eye. “Save that for the end, eh? The most important part.”
Homan has played lights-out curling so far, putting an exclamation point on her first three Scotties games with a last-rock, double-takeout to score three against Shannon Kleibrink (2-1), Alberta’s Olympic medalist.
It was just the latest episode of giant-killer scripted by this University of Ottawa student, who’s been playing against, and beating, the country’s top women since she was in her mid-teens.
Did you know she’s 2-1 against Jones over the years?
“No fear,” is how Holland described Homan, a good description for the Saskatchewan skip, too, through two days of action.
While there’s still plenty of hay to put in the barn, the Kronau, Sask.. product, playing in her second Scotties, looks and sounds as confident as anybody here.
“I consider myself among the elite, already,” a matter-of-fact Holland said. “This sport’s all about experience. It’s all about those people who have been there, done that.”
As for her 9-3 throttling of Jones, Holland allowed that, yeah, it made a statement.
“We came to play,” she said. “That’s pretty much it.”
Jones’ Team Canada experienced a roller-coaster of a day, eviscerating the Territories 12-1 in the morning, then eating the humble pie served by Holland.
Asked where things went wrong, Jones was blunt as a Winnipeg winter.
“Everywhere,” she said. “I think it’s happened to us every year at this event. We just struggled with the ice, with our weight, where to put the broom. It just didn’t happen for us. And that’s OK.
“A loss never fazes us, ever. Sometimes it helps out, if it kicks us in the butt and helps us focus again. It’s the right time to lose, when it’s going to not hopefully kill us.”
Holland, right up there with Jones as the most accurate skips, so far, was surprised the champ was so off.
“You don’t expect to have a game where it’s a little lopsided against Jennifer,” she said. “But we’ll take it.”
Canada will try to rebound against New Brunswick and P.E.I., Monday.
“The key is to not have back-to-back losses,” Jones said. “That’s always been our key. If you can do that, you should have a pretty good shot.”
Right now, the best shots are being fired by others.