As experienced a skip as Michelle Englot is, she’ll join her teammates in uncharted curling territory.
Manitoba punched their ticket to the final of the Canadian women’s curling championship with a 9-8 playoff win over Ontario’s Rachel Homan on Friday.
Englot, third Kate Cameron, second Leslie Wilson and lead Raunora Westcott will all play in the first Scotties Tournament of Hearts final of their careers Sunday.
At 53, Englot would be the oldest skip to win it. She’s skipped Saskatchewan seven times at the Hearts in almost three decades of competitive curling, but never in a final. The trophy is tantalizingly close.
“It would be incredible,” Englot said. “I have put a lot of time into it.”
The winner of the final represents Canada at the women’s world championship next month in Beijing. Englot’s team can also secure a berth in December’s Olympic trials with a victory Sunday.
Homan still in it
Homan, a two-time Canadian champion, must win Saturday evening’s semifinal to gain a rematch and a chance to win a third crown.
“We got to play on the playoff sheet, learned a little bit and just keep that moving forward,” Homan said.
“They played awesome. Kudos to them making it to the final. Hopefully we’ll see them there again.”
Manitoba and Ontario had 10-1 records in the preliminary round.
Defending champion Chelsea Carey (9-2) and Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville (8-3) meet in a playoff between the third and fourth seeds Saturday afternoon.
The winner meets Homan in the semifinal while the loser plays for bronze Sunday.
The team that wins the Page playoff between the top two seeds has won the Canadian championship nine of the last 15 years.
Homan took the direct route to the final when she won titles in 2013 and 2014, but she will have to take a different path to win it a third time.
Manitoba makes most of chances
In her first Hearts playoff game in 28 years, Englot stole a point in the fourth and scored three in the sixth en route…