MOOSE JAW, Sask. – Alberta’s Val Sweeting beat Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton 7-6 on Saturday to advance to the gold-medal game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Lawton had a chance to force an extra end but her draw to the four-foot came up just short.
“We knew it would be a close battle out there,” Sweeting said.
Sweeting will meet Olympic champion Jennifer Jones of Manitoba in Sunday’s final. Jones fast-tracked to the final with a victory over the Alberta skip in the one-two Page Playoff game on Friday.
Lawton was heavy with her final throw in the fourth end and Sweeting followed with a draw to score three for a 4-1 lead. The teams followed with alternating deuces until a blank in the eighth.
Sweeting came through with another draw for one in the ninth to give her a two-point cushion coming home. Lawton barely had shot stone at the edge of the four-foot but couldn’t tie the game with her final throw.
“It was maybe a hair stickier spot because we hadn’t played that path as much,” Lawton said. “But it was unfortunate that it just came up a little short on us.”
Lawton reached the semifinal with an 8-7 win over Canada’s Rachel Homan in the three-four Page Playoff game earlier in the day. They will play again Sunday for the bronze medal.
The partisan crowd was treated to a dramatic contest that went to an extra end. Homan tied it in the 10th with a delicate draw to score a pair.
Lawton had the hammer in the 11th and nailed her final shot for the win.
“That feels incredible,” Lawton said. “We had quite the matchup going there against Rachel and her team. Going into the extra end, we played the whole game for that.”
“So it was pretty good to just have a draw to the four-foot and it was perfect. The girls swept it great.”
Saskatchewan second Stephanie Schmidt made the key shot in the extra end. Her triple peel put Homan’s rink at a big disadvantage and took some of the pressure off third Sherry Anderson and Lawton.
Schmidt’s shot came one end after she was called for a hog-line violation. Her skip gave her credit for rebounding after the miscue.
“It was an incredible shot and she really wanted to come back after (the violation) in the 10th there,” Lawton said. “She made a fantastic shot.”
Homan was trying to become just the fourth skip to win three straight Canadian women’s titles.
“I thought my team played really well,” she said. “There was a couple shots here and there that we missed by a couple centimetres. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. Lawton’s team played really, really well.”
Homan beat Sweeting in last year’s Scotties final in Montreal for her second straight national title. This year’s Scotties winner will represent Canada at the March 14-22 world women’s curling championship in Sapporo, Japan.
© The Canadian Press, 2015