U SPORTS/Curling Canada University Championships kick off in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY, Ont. (U SPORTS) – The first day of the U SPORTS/Curling Canada University Championships opened Saturday evening with 16 teams from across the country finishing their first draw of the round robin, hosted by the Lakehead University Thunderwolves. Eight men’s and eight women’s teams will be competing for gold for the next five days to name themselves the best teams in University curling. “Great first day. All teams competed hard and both Lakehead teams played well. Ice is good and the viewing area was packed. It is going to be a great championship,” said Danny Lamoureux, Curling Canada Director, Curling Club Development & Championship Services. The men’s side opened with Dalhousie’s Robert Mayhew taking down Alberta 6-2 upsetting the 2015 University champion Thomas Scoffin, capturing their first win of the championship. The Memorial Sea Hawks (skip, Adam Boland) defeated UPEI (skip, Chris Gallant) 9-5 and the Queen’s Gaels (skip, Wes Forget) were downed by the Regina Cougars (Skip, Sam Wills) 5-4. The Regina skip made a clutch draw to the four-foot area for two points to win this one. The Lakehead Thunderwolves men’s team (skip, Dave Henderson) faced the reigning champions, Wilfrid Laurier (skip, Matt Hall), in a very exciting match. Both teams traded points until they were tied 6-6 after ten, pushing to an extra end with Laurier having the hammer. Laurier’s Skip Matt Hall made a clutch open hit against three Lakehead counters, capturing the 7-6 win for the Golden Hawks.

Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks skip Matt Hall (USports/Curling Canada photo)

On the women’s side, Laurentian (skip, Krysta Burns) grabbed a 5-1 lead after four ends and continued their momentum to an 8-2 victory over Regina (skip Hayley Jameson). The Ryerson Rams (skip, Maggie Macintosh) also walked away with a win tonight as they edged St. Francis Xavier (skip, Emma Logan), 8-3. The Lakehead women’s team (skip, Hailey Beaudry) faced a tough challenge against the Dalhousie Tigers in their first draw. Dalhousie’s skip Kristen Clarke, who won gold in the 2016 Canadian and World Junior Curling Championship, was a strong force for the Tigers. Ready to compete after a heart-breaking bronze-medal loss in last year’s CIS Championships, Dalhousie was tied with the Thunderwolves 3-3 after four ends. Lakehead and Dalhousie traded points in the next three ends until the Thunderwolves scored 4 points in the eighth end, taking the lead and winning 8-5. “I think we played great,” said Lakehead skip Beaudry after their first draw of the day. “We wanted to go out there and show everyone that we are not just here because we are the host team but we are here because we can compete at this high level. We have only played one other team here before so it is great and exciting to play against some new competition.”

Lakehead University women’s skip Hailey Beaudry (USports/Curling Canada photo)

The defending women’s national champions, the Alberta Pandas, skipped by Kristen Streifel who recently won bronze at the 2017 World Juniors in South Korea, took on UNB (Skip, Justine Comeau). The Pandas grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first end and, despite giving up 4 points in the 3rd end, finished the day with a 10-6 win. The round robin continues tomorrow at the Fort William Curling and Athletic Club with draw 2 beginning at 2pm and draw 3 starting at 7pm. DAY 1 SCORES Draw 1 – Men Alberta 2 – Dalhousie 6 Memorial 9 – UPEI 5 Lakehead 6 – Laurier 7 Regina 5 – Queen’s 4 Draw 1 – Women Alberta 10 – UNB 6 Dalhousie 5 – Lakehead 8 Regina 2 – Laurentian 8 StFX 3 – Ryerson 8 DAY 1 STANDINGS Men Laurier 1-0 Regina 1-0 Dalhousie 1-0 Memorial 1-0 Lakehead 0-1 UPEI 0-1 Queen’s 0-1 Alberta 0-1 Women Laurentian 1-0 Ryerson 1-0 Alberta 1-0 Lakehead 1-0 Dalhousie 0-1 UNB 0-1 Regina 0-1 StFX 0-1 SCHEDULE (All times ET) Saturday, March 18 8 p.m. Draw 1 Sunday, March 19 2 p.m. Draw 2 7 p.m. Draw 3 Monday, March 20 2 p.m. Draw 4 7 p.m. Draw 5 Tuesday, March 21 2 p.m. Draw 6 7 p.m. Draw 7 Wednesday, March 22 9 a.m. Semifinals 2 p.m. Bronze and Gold medal games 7 p.m. Victory banquet About U SPORTS U SPORTS is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. U SPORTS also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit usports.ca or follow us on: Twitter: @USPORTSca Facebook: @USPORTSCanada YouTube: @USPORTSca Instagram: @USPORTSca Snapchat: @USPORTSca Championship website (complete results): https://en.usports.ca/championships/curling/index www.curling.ca/2017university/