GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – Val Sweeting made it count when it mattered at the 2015 Canada Cup.
The Edmonton skip responded from being dispatched to a tiebreaker by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones on Friday with a 5-3 semifinal victory on Saturday in a rematch.
Team Sweeting will play Rachel Homan’s Ottawa-based team in Sunday’s women’s final. Homan ran a 5-1 record to finish first in the round robin and an automatic entry into the championship match.
“They’re (Homan’s team) playing well, but I thought we had really great day today so regardless of how well their team is playing we have to make our shots,” said Sweeting. “We’ve just got to focus on ourselves and make our shots the best we can and see where it falls.”
Sweeting — third Lori Olson-Johns, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachelle Brown — will be seeking their second straight Canada Cup title, having won the 2014 version in Camrose, Alta.
Earlier in the day, Sweeting defeated Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., 7-3 in the tiebreaker to earn her chance at a rematch against Jones.
Despite the loss, Jones — the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s champion — will be back in Grande Prairie in late February for the 2016 Scotties as Team Canada.
“We’re thrilled to be coming back. Hopefully the ice will be as good as it was this week because it was fantastic,” said Jones.
Homan and Sweeting will battle for the top prize of $14,000, in addition to direct-entry berths to the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Ottawa — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea — and trip to Las Vegas to be part of Team North America for the 2016 Continental Cup in January.
In the men’s semifinal, Calgary’s Kevin Koe used an extra end to defeat Toronto’s John Epping 7-6.
Koe, who last won the title in 2008, never trailed, but needed the extra end after Epping scored a deuce in the 10th to tie it 6-6.
“It feels good for sure. That was a big game,” said Koe, who plays with third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert. “We were always in control, never down, but they just never went away. It was a good battle for us and nice to pull it out.”
Koe will meet Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen in the men’s final.
McEwen, the defending Canada Cup champion, and Koe, the 2010 and 2014 Tim Hortons Brier champ, were tied for first at 5-2 after the round robin, but McEwen was awarded top spot by virtue of his win over Koe during the eight-team round-robin format.
“It’ll be tough,” said Koe of the final. “We actually had a great game with them in the round robin. They played great. I don’t know what their percentages were, easily over 90 as a team I’m guessing. We played good all week with the exception of one game in the round robin and we’ve had a good year and we’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Both the women’s and men’s finals are set for Sunday.