Einarson beats Homan to win Players' Championship, Mouat tops Gushue in men's final

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CALGARY — With two national crowns under her belt so far in the curling bubble, Kerri Einarson added a Grand Slam title to her impressive haul Sunday at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

Einarson never trailed in a 5-2 victory over Rachel Homan in an all-Canadian women's final at the Princess Auto Players' Championship. Einarson opened with a deuce and was in full control in a rematch of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final, which was also won by her Manitoba-based team.

"We just kept that momentum going, kept getting our rocks in some really good spots and put some pressure on them," Einarson said.

Down three with hammer in the eighth end, Homan was unable to get any offence going. Einarson made a takeout to run Homan out of rocks for the victory.

Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur earned $40,000 for the win. Homan's team of third Emma Miskew, second Sarah Wilkes and lead Joanne Courtney pocketed $25,000.

After opening the seven-event bubble schedule last February by winning the Scotties for a second straight year, Einarson added a Canadian mixed doubles title last month with Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L.

Gushue, meanwhile, dropped a 6-5 decision to Scotland's Bruce Mouat in the men's final later Sunday. Gushue drew to the back of the button in the eighth end, but Mouat made a game-winning in-off to score two for the title.

Mouat, third Grant Hardie, seond Bobby Lammie and lead Hammy McMillan threw 91 per cent overall while Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker finished at 84 per cent.

The men's prize payouts were the same as the women's.

Einarson's Grand Slam victory sets the team up nicely ahead of the bubble finale, the April 30-May 9 LGT world women's curling championship.

"It definitely gives us some confidence going in," Einarson said. "We're playing really well and throwing really well. We'll just keep building off of that."

Homan wrecked on a guard in the first end to set Einarson up for an open draw for two. The Ottawa native gave up a steal in the second after a heavy draw.

Einarson's team kept the pressure on in the third end. The skip made a brilliant double takeout to sit four and followed with a feather tick to force Homan to a single.

Einarson, from Camp Morton, Man., drew the button to make it a 4-1 lead after four ends.

Homan made a great triple-takeout to blank the fifth but settled for a single in the sixth end when her angle-raise attempt was too thick. Einarson was forced to take a single in the seventh.

Sweeting threw a perfect game at 100 per cent. Einarson's side threw at 91 per cent overall to 79 per cent for the Homan rink.

Einarson's foursome was tabbed to skip Canada at the 2020 world women's championship but the competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homan won the Humpty's Champions Cup last Monday in her return to competition after having a baby girl last month.

Mouat, meanwhile, was coming off a victory over Team Brendan Bottcher in the Champions Cup men's final. He also took silver at the world championship after falling to Sweden's Niklas Edin.

Mouat started strong with a deuce against Gushue but the veteran Canadian skip answered with a pair of his own. Mouat gave up a steal in the third end, picked up two points in the fourth and held Gushue to a single in the fifth.

After a blanked sixth, Gushue scored one in the seventh end on a steal when Mouat missed a double-takeout.

Gushue and Einarson will represent Canada at the May 17-23 world mixed doubles championship in Aberdeen, Scotland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press