On Friday, the action included the much-anticipated semifinals of the championship, as well as an opportunity for other provincial teams to practice their skills with some high performance curlers and coaches.
High performance clinic
Some of the world’s best coaches and elite curlers came together to host the High Performance Curling Clinic at Kakabeka Falls Curling Club on Friday morning.
Coaches included World Champions, Heather Houston, Lorraine Lang, Al Hackner and Rick Lang; Canadian Seniors Champions Al Laine and Brian Adams; and Senior Provincial Champion Art Lappalainen,. The two-time Ontario Women’s Champions, Team McCarville, and Canadian Mixed Champion Leigh Armstrong also assisted Jim Waite, National Coach and Olympic Team Leader, who led the clinic.
The purpose of the clinic was to give the participants tools to strengthen their technical and strategy skills. The coaches shared the latest information on high-performance curling to take back to their home clubs and pass on to the membership.
Thirty-four Provincial and Territorial players were taken through on-ice instruction including skill development, drills and brushing.
Following that, Rick Lang and Al Hackner led an off-ice strategy session and Jim Waite ended the morning with the results of the Olympic Sweep Study.
Special thanks to the Kakabeka Falls Curling Club for donating the ice and bleachers this week and to the Chinese restaurant for a great lunch!
Players were thrilled with the opportunity to meet the players and coaches up close and appreciated the information they received.
“The High Performance Clinic was the icing on the cake. We will be coming back bigger and better next year,” said the QC women.
Tie-breaker a déjà-vu experience
The Friday men’s tie-breaker of NL vs. NS was a déjà-vu experience for anyone who had viewed their round robin game in Draw 3.
On Friday, both teams played aggressively. They traded shots for the first three ends and were tied 1-1. In the fourth, NS skip Mike Robinson made two hits to cut NL down to two. In the sixth, NS had a chance for three, but NL skip Scott Davidge drew to the button for one. In the seventh, NS had a double takeout for two, but Robinson’s rock hit the NL rock on the four too thin to get the second rock, so NL took one. Try as they might, NS couldn’t split their front guard into the house, so they took one, for a final score of 5-3. NS supporters rolled up their Nova Scotia flags and sou’wester caps for next year.
“The other team played really well and we just couldn’t get control of the game,” Vice Glenn Churchill said, “but now we have even more motivation to make it to TDCCC next year, when it’s in our home town.”
The MB and SK women head to the final
SK’s Heather Burnett stole a berth into the women’s final when they came from behind to edge YK’s Nicol Baldwin 6-5 in an extra end. SK will face MB Saturday, after the MB rink eliminated ON’s Michelle Fletcher 8-5 in the other semi-final.
The game started out as a defensive battle as the teams traded singles, ending up tied at two through the first four ends. SK scored one coming out of the break and when Baldwin made a delicate chip for three in the sixth, it looked like it the YK women were on their way to the final. Unfortunately for them, it was not to be.
YK had their chances for the win, but Baldwin came up light when drawing for the win in the eighth and extra end. Credit must be given to SK: they hung tough after giving up a three-ender in the sixth end that broke up a closely played game. In contrast to Baldwin, Burnette had touch on her draw weight, drawing behind cover to allow her team the opportunity for a steal.
It was an easier route to the final for the MB women, who got the jump early. They were 6-0 up after two ends. Fordyce made an open hit for three in the first end, just grazing her stone at the back of 12 foot by driving the ON stone out. ON did not get what they wanted in the second end, giving up a steal of three more. Fletcher attempted a takeout of the MB shot stone, just biting the four foot, but jammed onto one of her own in the back of house.
ON came back with a deuce in the third and then cut the lead to three in the seventh with another two. However, Fordyce ran Ontario out of rocks in the eighth end for the victory.
The AB and SK men head to the final
Defending champions AB faced off against NL in semifinal action Friday. NL advanced to the semi the hard way, defeating NS in a tiebreaker earlier in the day. The AB boys from Edmonton, the “City of Champions,” came out on fire in the first end as AB skip Dan Sherrard made a double to score three.
More pressure from AB in the second end as they split the house and forced NL to draw for their single. In the third end, Sherrard executed a quiet hit to score 2 and take a 5-1 lead. AB kept the pressure on in the 4th end and the NL skip was again forced to draw for one. AB kept their foot on the gas in the fifth end: Sherrard made a hit for 5 and that was enough for NL. Alberta has booked a return trip to the final!
Our other semi-final pitted Team YT from Whitehorse (The Wilderness City) against the SK squad.
Both teams employed a defensive strategy early. In the first end, a hit attempt by SK’s skipper sailed wide and they settled for a single point. The second and third ends were blanked. In the fourth end, SK’s skip perfectly tapped up a centre-line rock to the four foot to sit one. YT’s skip tried to move it off the four foot but did not move it far enough: SK stole one. In the fifth, YT’s skip was light and crashed leading to another SK steal. In the sixth, SK’s skip drew for 2 to take a 5-1 lead coming home. SK ran YT out of rocks in the eighth and it was a victory for SK.
Live scoring can be viewed www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
About The Dominion Curling Club Championship:
The Dominion Curling Club Championship is an annual event for men’s and women’s curling teams who have won their respective local club championships. Winning teams from each club play down to produce a provincial/territorial champion from all ten provinces and three territories, plus a separate entry for Northern Ontario, who will then compete at the national level. The event raises funds in support of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Their mission is to assist persons with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities achieve independence, self-reliance and full community participation. Over the past four years, the event has raised over $300,000 for SCI chapters across Canada and wheelchair curling. To learn more, visit thedominioncurls.ca