Canada's Rachel Homan makes statement with 1st win of Olympics

Canadian women's curling squad now 1-3 in round-robin action

By Gregory Strong, Canadian Press

Opening the Winter Olympics with three straight losses is something that could send many curling teams spinning out of contention.

The slow start may have galvanized skip Rachel Homan and the Canadian women's curling team.

Homan returned to form Saturday night in emphatic fashion at the Gangneung Curling Centre, posting an 11-3 rout of American Nina Roth.

This was vintage Homan — focused, intense, successful — in her first complete performance in Pyeongchang. Lisa Weagle, Joanne Courtney and Emma Miskew were back too, looking very much like the team that was dominant in 2017.

"Sometimes there are those critical periods in a team's history where they can come together or they can split apart," said coach Adam Kingsbury. "I've never, in the 3 1/2 years that I've known them, I've never seen them have such real, authentic conversations like they did today. And they're different as we could see.

'So proud of them'

"Forget the scoreboard, they were different people out there today. I'm just so proud of them."

The Ottawa-based team stole three points in the first end and didn't look back.

Roth flashed a stone and was light with her final throw. A hog-line violation followed early in the second end as the Americans continued to struggle, eventually being forced to a single.

Homan delivered an open hit for one in the third end and tacked on three more points in the fifth. The teams shook hands early after Canada scored four points in the seventh.

"We have to remember that we're still a team, we're still really great curlers out there," Miskew said. "We don't have to do anything special. We just need to be ourselves."

The Ottawa-based rink looked like it had rediscovered its rhythm. Smiles had replaced the grimaces and they were really communicating again on the ice.

The shots were being delivered with confidence and authority. Eight ideal throws in the first end set the tone.

Roth opened the door with those two first-end misses and never really threatened.

Brought their 'A' game

"Everyone brought their 'A' game and we took every inch that they gave us and never let up," Homan said.

The pressure is always immense for Canadian rinks at major international competitions and Homan, an Olympic rookie, looked like she was feeling it in her first three losses.

The team spent time with family members after an upset loss to Denmark on Friday and tried to put their struggles aside. The losses were close ones, with the Homan team feeling a break or two here or there could have been the difference.

Against the Americans, Homan played like a team that was 3-0 and not 0-3.

"The few things that we've been working on were noticeable out there," Kingsbury said. "That's the team that we expected to come. We still know it's one of another five wins that we're going to need.

"The only way you are going to win six games is we tried to go back to that team that dominated at the Scotties [and] at the worlds."

Next up for Canada (1-3) is a Sunday afternoon matchup against Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni (1-3).

Sweden (4-0), Japan (4-1) and South Korea (3-1) hold the first three spots after six draws of play. Round-robin play continues through Wednesday and the medal games are set for next weekend.

"We had that moment today and it was really cool to be a part of," Kingsbury said. "The key now is we have to just keep that going."