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Carruthers rallies to beat Dunstone; Homan tops Einarson in PointsBet Invitational finals

Team Reid Carruthers Team Reid Carruthers - Curling Canada

OAKVILLE, Ont. — Rachel Homan defeated Kerri Einarson 9-7 to claim the PointsBet Invitational title on Sunday.

Homan used a three-point ninth end to break a 6-6 tie and eventually win the women's final.

The victory earned Homan's team $50,000. Homan missed her side's season-opening win at the Saville Shootout in Edmonton in September while she spent time with her now five-week-old son Briggs, with Heather Nedohin standing in as the skip.

“I guess my team can win with any skip,” joked Homan. “The team is firing, and we’re just going to try to keep getting better with every game. Heather was an awesome super-spare for us, and we just continued that on."

“Rachel is amazing — I’m continually in awe of her,” added second Emma Miskew. “And the team played great; it was nice to have all of us back.”

After a blank opening end, it was top seed Einarson who notched three points in the second to take an early lead. Down 4-2 entering the fifth, though, Homan's second-seeded squad took their first lead with a three-point end.

After Homan bumped the lead to 6-4 in the seventh, Einarson knotted the contest with two in the eighth. Down 9-6 following the ninth end, however, Einarson was only able to notch one point in the 10th and final end.

“We came out firing early, and in the middle ends I had some unfortunate bad luck on a couple of mine,” said Einarson, whose team earned $26,000 as the runner-up. “Not much you can do about that."

In the men's final later on Sunday, Winnipeg-based Reid Carruthers defended his PointsBet Invitational title by scoring three in the 10th end to tie Matt Dunstone of Winnipeg 8-8, then had a sudden-death draw to the button in the 11th to win it 9-8. His stunning comeback was worth $50,000.

The fifth-seeded Carruthers scored a single in the first end, two in the fifth, two more in the seventh and then pulled off the three in the 10th en route to victory.

The third-seeded Dunstone scored two in the second end, singles in the third and fourth, counted two in the sixth and eighth and appeared headed for victory before Carruthers' incredible comeback.

“Against a team like that, taking the deuce (in the ninth) and being down one coming home without (last rock), we’d have to steal one and then win the draw,” said Carruthers. “I figured the best chance would be to put a good end together, which actually hadn’t happened in that game, and go for the three. You get the three, you might get them a little bit rattled and get them in the draw-off.

“Fortunately for us we got a couple misses, and I think we went 8-for-8 in the last end, and that helped us, for sure.”

Team Dunstone was leading 4-1 after four and threatening to steal in the fifth before a huge runback takeout to score a deuce for Carruthers.

“I think the big shot of the game for us was when Reid made the long runback for two to keep us in that game,” said vice-skip Brad Jacobs. “It went from potentially being 5-1 to 4-3; that was big. I know for myself, I was on tilt at that point, and when he made that shot, it really calmed me down and snapped me back into it.”

Dunstone earned $26,000 for finishing second.

The PointsBet Invitational is the first Season of Champions event of the season.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2023.