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Alberta & Wilfrid Laurier in men’s playoffs

On the men’s side, the fifth draw of the CIS / Curling Canada National University Championships saw two teams competing with a chance to stay perfect on the tournament through the second day.

Thomas Scoffin’s University of Alberta Golden Bears (4-0) were pitted against the host UBC Okanagan Heat (2-2) skipped by Justin Nillson. After the fifth end, the Golden Bears held a commanding 9-1 lead. Alberta scored in every end but the second, and went on to win by double digits, with a final score of 13-2 after eight ends. With the win, Scoffin’s Bears remain without a loss (5-0) and guarantee themselves a spot in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

The other team without a loss through the first four draws, Aaron Squires’ Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (4-0), played the other (2-2) team, Eric Bradey’s Brock Badgers. After scoring two in the fifth end, the Hawks took a 5-2 lead into the break. Brock scored two in the eighth end to pull within three, at 7-4 in favour of Laurier, but the Hawks scored two in the ninth to put the game away. With the 9-4 win in nine ends, Squires’ Golden Hawks stay undefeated, and pull even with Scoffin’s Alberta Golden Bears at (5-0), locking up the second of four spots in Wednesday’s men’s semi-final pairings.

Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks skip Aaron Squires (photo by Ken Reid, GreyStoke Photography)

Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks skip Aaron Squires
(photo by Ken Reid, GreyStoke Photography)

Mirroring the women’s draw, the two winless teams in the men’s draw faced off against each other. Adam Cocks’ Saint Mary’s Huskies and John Willsey’s Waterloo Warriors, both coming in (0-4), competed for their first win of the tournament between them.

Saint Mary’s took an early lead, scoring three in the second end, and went on to take a 6-1 lead into the break. Waterloo scored in each of the sixth, seventh, and eighth ends to pull within two, at 6-4 in favour of the Huskies, going into the ninth end. The Warriors scored one in the ninth, and stole three in the final frame after a miss on the final stone by Saint Mary’s, winning the game 8-6. With their first win of the tournament, Willsey’s Waterloo Warriors improve to a record of (1-4), while Adam Cocks’ Saint Mary’s Huskies remain the only team without a win in the men’s national tournament, now with a record of (0-5).

Victoria Vike skip Corey Chester (photo by Ken Reid, GreyStoke Photography)

Victoria Vikes skip Corey Chester
(photo by Ken Reid, GreyStoke Photography)

The fourth men’s match of the draw saw Corey Chester’s Victoria Vikes (3-1) against Matthew Manuel’s Dalhousie Tigers (1-3). They played a quick first two ends, with no score until Dalhousie took the first point in the third end. The Tigers held a 2-1 lead at the fifth end break, and there was another blank end in the sixth. Manuel’s rink went up three ends after the seventh, Chester and the Vikes scored two in the eighth and one in the ninth, taking a 4-3 lead into the tenth end.

With his final stone of regulation, Matthew Manuel put his throw right on the button with an impressive outturn draw to the four foot, tying the game up at 4 and forcing an eleventh end.

With the final stone in the eleventh end, Victoria skip Corey Chester raised his guard into the Tigers’ stone on the button, taking the point. After nearly three hours, the Victoria Vikes won the longest match of the evening, 5-4 after the extra end. The Vikes improve to (4-1) for the tournament, while the Tigers drop to (1-4) before the final day of round robin competition.

In the fifth draw for the women’s side of the CIS / Curling Canada National University Championships, two match-ups featured teams tied with each other for a share of first. The top five teams after the fourth draw all sat at a record of (3-1).

Alberta Pandas skip Kelsey Rocque (photo by Ken Reid, GreyStoke Photography)

Alberta Pandas skip Kelsey Rocque
(photo by Ken Reid, GreyStoke Photography)

The focus was then on Janelle Vachon’s Brandon Bobcats against Kelsey Rocque’s Alberta Pandas, and on Corynn Brown’s TRU WolfPack against Kristin Clarke’s Dalhousie Tigers. The fifth team tied for first coming in, Jestyn Murphy’s Guelph Gryphons, faced off against Chelsea Brandwood’s Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (1-3).

In the first game between teams tied for first, Alberta jumped out to a big lead, scoring four in the third end to take a 5-1 lead. At the fifth end break, Rocque and her Pandas held a sizeable 7-1 lead over Vachon and the Bobcats. Brandon scored two in both the sixth and eighth ends, cutting the Alberta lead to three at 8-5 heading into the ninth end. The Bobcats scored one more in the ninth end, and forced Rocque to throw her last stone in the tenth to win it. Alberta took the game by a final score of 9-6 after a full ten ends. Alberta improves to (4-1), still holding a share of the top spot in the women’s rankings, while the Bobcats lose their share of the lead, falling to (3-2).

The other game between teams coming in tied for first place started out more closely contested, with Brown’s WolfPack taking a 5-2 lead, after scoring two in the fifth end, over Clarke’s Tigers into the mid-game break. Scoring four in the eighth end, and one more in the ninth for good measure, Corynn Brown and her Thompson Rivers WolfPack improve to (4-1) on the tournament, and maintain a share of the top spot in the tournament standings heading into the final day of round robin play.

The Guelph Gryphons couldn’t hold on to their share of the top of the women’s standings, as they fell 10-6 in nine ends to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. As a result, Murphy’s Gryphons will sit even with Clarke’s Dalhousie Tigers and Vachon’s Bobcats, at (3-2) for the tournament.

In another interesting result in scheduling, two teams who had yet to win through four draws, Terri Weeks’ Brock Badgers (0-4) and Samantha Crook’s UNB Varsity Reds (0-4), played each other in the 7:00 PM Monday draw. Brock would win the game, 8-4 after eight ends.

Brock was up 5-1 after the third end, but UNB scored in the fourth and fifth to make it 5-3 at the break. Brock scored two more in the sixth, and one more in the eighth to put it out of reach. Weeks and the Badgers took their first win of the tournament, and sit at (1-4) after the second day of competition. Samantha Crook and the UNB Varsity Reds are now the only team without a win in the women’s tournament, and sit at (0-5).

Round robin play concludes Tuesday evening, followed by semifinal and gold/bronze medal matches on Wednesday. Four teams from each group of eight will advance from round robin play to the semifinals.

The winners of the CIS / Curling Canada University Championships will represent Canada at the 2017 World University Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Full scores, standings and team rosters can be found here:
Women: http://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/#!/competitions/2061
Men: http://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/#!/competitions/2062

byline: Grayson Leahy