Championship experience shone through in Affinity Place Sunday afternoon as Jennifer Jones defeated Kerri Einarson to win her fourth career Home Hardware Canada Cup, her second straight.
After a loss in the first game of round robin to Team Homan, Kerri Einarson and her crew beat all comers to earn a bye to the final. Jennifer Jones defeated Homan in the semi final Saturday evening to place as Einarson's opponent.
Einarson obtained the first point, before Jones pulled a deuce out of the second. A blank third end was followed by Jones' hammer draw to the button in the fourth, but it wasn't quite enough. A measurement gave Einarson two points to retake a 3-2 lead.
Jones had the hammer in the fifth end, and used it to full effect on her final shot with a well placed draw to the button, just displacing an Einarson rock to take two points and a 4-3 lead. In the sixth Jones set up a situation that called for a risky shot from Einarson, which she took. That left Jones with a single point to take a 5-3 advantage.
Both sides loaded the house in the seventh. With the hammer, Einarson made a draw that didn't quite have enough heat and came up just short. She was only able to take a single point to narrow the lead to 5-4. In the eighth, it appeared that Einarson had Jones cornered, but a well placed takeout salvaged the latter out of a hole to give up a single point, knotting the score at 5 heading into the ninth end. However, the fireworks weren't over.
Jones used her last shot to full advantage. Einarson had set up a tricky situation but, Jones' double takeout for three points will see quite a few highlight reels it time to come. She took an 8-5 lead in into the tenth end, sucking the wind out of Team Einarson. Despite an outside chance for Einarson to take the game back in the tenth, Jones kept her opponent contained to win her second Canada Cup in as many years, and become the first even womens team to win four Canada Cups.
"Oh really? That's kinda cool," she expressed afterwards, "I actually couldn't remember how many we had won. Its' kind of fun, especially as you get to the tailend of your career, to realize some of the records you've set or the success you've had. It really is a little bit surreal, but hopefully we'll have another one or two in us."
"We've played in a lot of playoff games, and we just kind of know what to look for and what to expect. At the end of the day, I thought both teams played well and we just made it by a few more guards than they did, and figured out the paths a little bit better."
When it came to the monumental, game changing double takeout play in the ninth end, Jones noted that it fell right into their favor.
"It was just the way the score was, getting one in the five rock rule is always challenging to try and hold them to not take two in the last end, so we thought it was worth the risk. I like throwing that shot, it looked good out of my hand and we knew that it would come close, I just wasn't sure if we would stick the shooter and it stuck around. It worked out really well."
However, she doesn't just take the credit, handing much of it to her teammates, lead Dawn McEwen, second Joclyn Peterman, and third Kaitlyn Lawes.
"Huge team effort, the girls swept that from my hands, I think, and we just made it by a sliver. It's always a team game and I can't say enough about my teammates. Jocelyn has just fit into the team great, we're having a ton of fun with her. Dawn and Kaitlyn are just outstanding teammates, I really can't imagine playing without them."
Jones also had positive things to say about winning the event in Estevan, in Affinity Place, and in front of an enthusiastic local crowd.
"Being a prairie girl, we just love curling in the prairies. Obviously, being from Winnipeg, it's always fun to play in Manitoba but Saskatchewan's pretty close. They just love curling here, they understand it and it's just great to come into a building where people are thoroughly enjoying the game, the atmoshphere was fantastic."
Meanwhile, Jocleyn Peterman isn't a stranger to the Canada Cup competition. She competed with Chelsea Carey's rink in 2016 but didn't succeed. Then she joined Jennifer Jones to win in her first year with her new team.
"It's very exciting, its' a big win for us. We've been playing pretty well to start the season, but we hadn't come out with a win yet, so it was very exciting."
Given her skip's now-record number of Canada Cup victories, Peterman has joined a quartet rich in experience.
"It's just such an incredible team. They work really hard at the game. She's very unique in the fact she loves to play in those big moment, always plays well in them, and it's amazing to be on her team now."
Jennifer Jones and her crew received a hefty cash reward, to the tune of $20,000, plus the Canada Cup, and a bye into the Road to the Roar Olympic Pre-Trials, as well as a spot in the World Curling Federation World Cup.
But wait, there's more. While the women's champ has been decided, the men's final takes place Sunday evening at 7:00 PM. The nearly undefeated Brad Jacobs will take on Kevin Koe in a battle for the mens Home Hardware Canada Cup.