By Ethan Diamandas and Charlie Pinkerton (This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.)
Ottawa at the Olympics Day 2: Hockey dominates, curling bounces back
The Games are underway, and Canada has already made its presence known in emphatic fashion.
Jamie Lee Rattray and Canada’s women’s hockey team were too much for Switzerland in a commanding 12-1 victory. Rattray picked up an assist in the third period as the Canadians peppered the Swiss with a whopping 70 shots on net. The game was essentially over when Canada scored a minute in, but the gold medal favourites suffered a big loss when forward Mélodie Daust left the game with an injury and did not return.
Anything short of a gold medal will be a disappointment for the 29-year-old Rattray in her first Olympics. By all accounts, Canada is off to a good start.
On the curling front, Canada mixed doubles duo of Rachel Homan and John Morris had mixed results during their first day of competition. Their first matchup against Great Britain — the 2021 World Champions — was a bit sloppy. The two teams flip-flopped back and forth on the scoreboard before the final end, which Canada entered trailing by one point. Morris misfired a crucial double takeout, leaving he and Homan with no where to go on the hammer, and the Ottawa pair wound up losing 6-4.
The second matchup of the day brought more tense moments for Canada. Taking on Norway, Canada came out strong by scoring four in the second end to set the tone. Norway came back, and, after trading misses in the seventh end, Canada had the hammer for the final end with the score tied. Homan delivered a brilliant tick shot to start, and Canada was able to close things out 7-6 for the win.
Communication is a decisive factor in mixed doubles curling, and childhood friends Homan and Morris had a tough time staying on the same page in Day 2.
In the Norway matchup, Morris didn’t listen to Homan’s line call, and on one occasion overswept a stone that slid too deep in the house. An experienced skip and the better curler through two games, Homan needs to get Morris to be more cooperative if Canada wants to build off its first win.
Day 3 Preview: More curling, more hockey
The curling pair of Homan and Morris continue their slog of a schedule with a showdown Thursday night against Switzerland at 7:35 p.m. eastern, then an overnight matchup versus hosts China.
Canada sits in sixth place after Day 2, one win back of a four-way tie for fourth place. The goal for Homan and Morris is to finish in the top four, crack the semi-finals, and go from there.
But with the much improved world of mixed doubles, it won’t be easy.
All Ottawa Olympians schedules can be found here.
(Editor’s note: Our newsletter said in error that Canada’s women’s hockey team was back in action tonight. In fact, they play tomorrow. Editor Charlie Pinkerton is apparently still wrapping his head around the time difference with Beijing, and apologizes for the confusion.)
Connecting Rachel and Johnny Mo
Where to start with what Homan’s and Morris’s curling careers have in common?
Naturally, the beginning makes sense. Both curlers of course hail from Ottawa, but they’re separated by age by about a decade.
While speaking to the Sports Pages before going to Beijing, Morris recalled memories of a very young Homan ambling around the ice rink as he curled with her older brother, Mark.
“We have a good history there and a great family friendship,” Morris said.
Their careers are also patterned by numerous identical (or equivalent for their gender disciplines) accomplishments and milestones.
In a curling sense, they’re perhaps most intimately tied by a shared former coach: Earle Morris, John’s father, and a member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
In 2017, Homan’s and Morris’s curling paths officially crossed, and they competed together for the first time.
Ottawa at the Olympics Central Webpage
In case you forgot, we’ve got a nice and easy way to follow your favourite athletes from Ottawa: go ahead and bookmark our Ottawa at the Olympics Central webpage:
That’s where we’ll post links to all our coverage in one place.
Lastly today we’d like to recommend to you Kelly Egan’s latest column for the Ottawa Citizen, which centres on sisters Kimberley and Meg Duncan, and is about good-doing and perseverance.
We hope you enjoy our coverage and watching the Olympics over the next 19 days – it’s gonna be a great ride!
This article was first sent to subscribers of the Ottawa at the Olympics Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it, for free, here.
HELP SHINE A LIGHT ON LOCAL SPORT! The Ottawa Sports Pages has proudly provided a voice for local sport for over 10 years, but we need your help to continue another 10 and beyond. Please donate to the Ottawa Sports Pages Fund today.