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Manitoba opens with a win at Wheelchair Championship

Manitoba’s Dennis Thiessen opened with a 7-3 win over Alberta’s Don Kuchelyma as the 2015 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship got underway in Boucherville, Que., on Monday night.

Manitoba's Dennis Thiessen delivers his rock during Draw 1 action at the 2015 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship (Photo Morgan Daw)

Manitoba’s Dennis Thiessen delivers his rock during Draw 1 action at the 2015 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship (Photo Morgan Daw)

Thiessen, the 2014 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship gold medallist, and his team of Mark Wherrett, Jamie Anseeuw, Melissa Lecuyer and coach Tom Wherrett had their hands full against Alberta’s Kuchelyma, Warren Fleury, Mike McMullan, Shawna Walsh, alternate Marie Laframboise and coach Tracey Jones. Tied 3-3 after seven, Manitoba stole four points in the final end to secure the 7-3 win.

British Columbia’s Gerry Austgarden opened the competition with a win over Saskatchewan’s Darwin Bender. Austgarden backed by Darryl Neighbour, Frank Labounty, Alison Duddy and coach Brad Burton scored three early, then went on to steal three straight ends for a 9-1 lead after five on the way to a 10-4 win.

In other opening draw games, Ontario’s Chris Rees defeated Newfoundland and Labrador’s Joanne MacDonald 6-2; Northern Ontario’s Wayne Ficek scored three in the sixth to jump into the lead and hold on for a 6-4 win over New Brunswick’s Michael Fitzgerald; and hometown favourite, 2013 gold medallist, Quebec’s Benoit Lessard, controlled the game from the start for a 7-5 win over Nova Scotia’s Trendal Hubley-Bolivar.

Action continues on Tuesday with draws at 10 a.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET at the Centre Gilles Chabot in Boucherville.

Ten teams, representing nine provinces plus Northern Ontario, will play the round robin from April 27 to Friday, May 1, followed by the Page playoff games (1 vs 2, 3 vs 4) on Saturday. The semifinal (loser of 1-2 vs winner of 3-4) goes Sunday, May 3, at 10 a.m., with the championship final scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.

Selected games are being livestreamed on the Wheelchair Curling Blog at www.wcblog2.com/

For scores and standings, visit Curling Canada’s live scoring at
http://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/#/competitions/1654-2015-canadian-wheelchair-curling-championship/scoreboard

For results and team information, visit the event website at
http://www.curling.ca/2015wheelchair/