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Curling

Alberta's Carey steals Scotties title from Homan's Ontario rink

Alberta's Chelsea Carey stole two points in an extra end for a stunning 8-6 victory over Ontario's Rachel Homan in the final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Sunday night at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S.

Stolen points in the 6th, 7th, 10th and extra end propels Chelsea Carey to win

Alberta skip Chelsea Carey, third Sarah Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown, left to right, along with coach Dan Carey, Chelsea's father, pose with the trophy after defeating Ontario 8-6 to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S. on Sunday. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

SYDNEY, N.S. — The 2019 Scotties championship game is now an instant curling classic, capped off by a stunning Alberta comeback.  

Ontario skip Rachel Homan's draw for the win in an extra end came to a screeching halt short of the four-foot, giving Chelsea Carey an improbable 8-6 win. How they even got there is even more remarkable. 

It looked bleak midway through the game for Carey, who was trailing in the championship game Sunday night 5-2 after five ends and seemed to be headed for more heartbreak in big games.

But her Alberta rink made the decision at the break to put as many rocks in play as possible the rest of the way and hope for misses. It translated into back-to-back stolen points in the sixth and seventh ends. 

Then down 6-5 in the tenth end without hammer, Carey would need yet another steal to force an extra end. Homan's draw came up inches short from victory setting up the extra end madness. The crowd was sent into a frenzy inside Centre 200. 

That set up the extra end and Homan's second missed draw with the title on the line.  

Alberta's lead Rachel Brown threw her broom in the air as Carey, Sarah Wilkes, Dana Ferguson and Brown raced together to celebrate.

WATCH | Carey, Alberta win Scotties Tournament of Hearts in shocking fashion:

Chelsea Carey's Alberta rink trailed 5-1 after the 4th end, but managed to comeback all the way back to beat Ontario's Rachel Homan 8-6 in the finals of the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 2:15

"I'm still in shock," Carey said. "We wanted to make her throw that draw because that path is pretty slow. I still expected her to make it. It still hasn't hit me yet. I'm sure I'll be very excited when it does."

Homan was just as shocked as Carey was. 

"Obviously disappointed," she said. "We wanted to win that one and just came up short when we had every opportunity to win. We just missed a few too many."

Homan's third, Emma Miskew, said the ice was difficult to read in the last few ends of the game. 

"Rachel hasn't missed a draw to the four-foot all season and it was just a really hard guess out there," Miskew said. "It was hard where to put the broom and I wouldn't have wanted to throw that shot myself."

Finally champions

For Ferguson and Brown, victory has been so close before only to have it ripped away — they lost the 2014 and 2015 Scotties championship games. 

But this time the front end, who used to play with Val Sweeting, can finally call themselves Scotties winners. 

"This means everything," Ferguson said. "It was not an easy season starting out without Rachel. Position changes. A new team. Who would have seen this coming. I'm still stunned. This doesn't happen very often. This is the wildest."

Brown missed the first part of the season because she had just given birth to her baby boy, Finn. After the win she celebrated with her four-month-old. 

"He's the best thing. He's four months. And he just gives you tons of perspective. Before the final I'm breastfeeding him, he's crying," Brown said. "It's full-on motherhood and then show up at the rink and curl."

For Brown, this moment has felt like a lifetime in the making.

"Since the age of seven I've wanted to win the Scotties. I grew up wanting to represent my province and then get to the Scotties and win it. I got second twice and I just wanted to live out that childhood dream."

Redemption and resilience

One year ago, Carey couldn't even watch the Scotties. She had just lost out of the Wild Card game. That was last dagger in a series of crushing defeats.

Last curling season Carey lost the Olympic Trials final to Homan and was then bounced from the playoffs at the first-ever Mixed Doubles Olympic Trials. The defeats weren't easy for the skip and she didn't even touch a rock for much of the offseason.

But a new team and a renewed outlook propelled Carey back into a granite odyssey she felt excited about, leading her back to the top of the podium at the Scotties. This is her second title after winning it all in 2016.  

Carey talks a lot destiny and fate when it comes to championship games and said there was a point in the Scotties final Sunday she felt it just wasn't her time yet again.

"You just don't think you're going to win that game," Carey said. "I didn't think at the fifth end break we were going to win this game."

Watching it all from the bench was Chelsea's father, Dan, who is the coach for the team. He also believes in fate.

"Those are one in a thousand," he said.

"And you never know when that one's going to strike," Dan said. "This team learned to never give up throughout this season."

And maybe that's what Chelsea is most proud of, that never-give-up attitude after a season of devastating loses to now become the Scotties champion.

"I have no words," Carey said. "It's been such a roller coaster but I'm so happy."

Carey will represent Canada at the March 16-24 women's world championship in Silkeborg, Denmark.

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