I’ve gotten into curling a lot more in the past few years than I had been in the past; sure I watched the Scotties and the Brier, but not actively and not really understanding the strategy behind the shots. I still don’t make the time to watch the games all the time, but I try to make sure to watch all of the big games.
This year’s Gold Medal game was a rematch between Manitoba (Englot) and Ontario (Homan); Manitoba had won their previous two matches (1 round robin, the 1 vs 2 page playoff game), making an otherwise perfect Ontario team look deeply flawed. They forced them off their game and made some pretty good shots in their own right. It was shaping up to be a great final.
And trust me, it was a fantastic match-up. It started off pretty much text-book for Homan: they started the game without hammer (last rock), so they forced Manitoba to take a single point. They took 3 points in a brilliant shot, and forced another point to take the hammer back. It was looking pretty good, but there were some mistakes made, and resulted in a tie game after the 7th end.
What struck me is that both teams made more or less equal amounts of mistakes, but at any one point one of the team members pulled off a shot to save the end. It was really great to watch, even if it was nail biting.
It ended up going to extra ends, and Homan had to make a really difficult shot to secure the win. It’s hard to describe – so you should watch the highlight reel instead. Be sure to watch for the broom flip at the end. I am 99% sure that this was inspired by the likes of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
The full game (and all of the Scotties matches) should be available on Curling Canada’s YouTube channel soon. Until then, whet your appetite with Manitoba vs Canada 1 vs 2 page playoff.