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Ontario Fast Out of the Gate!

(By Rob Neff and Sarah Mendek) Team Ontario definitely came ready to play in the opening draw of the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The Mark Ideson foursome, representing the Ilderton Curling Club, used pinpoint draw weight to spot three early rocks deep in the house in the first end. Nova Scotia’s Richard Brown rink couldn’t penetrate a phalanx of guards, opening the door for a huge five spot for Ontario.

In the second end, facing a pair of Nova Scotia counters, Ideson drew his first rock to the eight-foot and placed his second on the button to lie two. Brown drew his last rock to the four-foot, but Ontario stole one to stretch its lead to 6-0.

photo by Ron Jason

Facing a big deficit, Nova Scotia showed their resilience in the third end. Beautiful takeouts by second Steve Parfitt and vice Terry Cousineau had the Maritimers lying two. Those rocks held up after both skips wrecked on guards on their final shots, putting Nova Scotia temporarily back in the contest.

Ontario re-applied the pressure on in the fourth end. Ideson’s front end of Tony Reynan and Shannon Wilcox spotted rocks in the house, forcing Nova Scotia into a takeout game. However, a gorgeous double raise by Nova Scotia’s Parfitt turned the end on its ear. His counter stood up for a single point and Nova Scotia’s comeback attempt stayed on track.

The fifth end belonged to Ontario vice Katie Paialunga. Her double takeout squelched a potential big end for Nova Scotia, while her second shot slid neatly into the four-foot. That set the stage for a beautiful Ideson draw putting Ontario comfortably in front 9-3. Ontario stole another point in the sixth, putting the game practically out of reach for Nova Scotia.

Brown drew to the eight-foot to count a pair in the seventh end. However, facing a 10-5 deficit, the Nova Scotia skip simply ran out of rocks in the eighth end.

In this afternoon’s second draw, Ontario puts its wining record on the line against Newfoundland and Labrador, losers to Northern Ontario in the first draw. Nova Scotia aims to get on the winning side in a second draw match with Alberta, 5-3 winners in their opening match against Saskatchewan.

In other first draw action, Northern Ontario built and early lead and never looked back in a 12-1 romp over Newfoundland and Labrador. British Columbia’s Gerry Austgarden’s team stormed to a 4-0 lead after two ends en route to a 9-4 victory over Quebec. In the opening round’s most dramatic game, defending champion Manitoba, skipped this year by Dennis Thiessen, scored three in the final end to trip Richard Prud’homme’s host rink 10-7.

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