Day two of the 2019 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship saw the Ontario-based teams rise to the top of the standings.
The biggest match-up of the heavyweights saw Jim Armstrong and his Ontario teammates take on 2018 bronze medal Paralympian Marie Wright from Saskatchewan in a battle to claim top and lone undefeated spot in Pool A. Tied 2-2 at the fourth end break, Ontario broke away with a score of four in the fifth end and eventual handshakes with a final score of 7-3 for the Armstrong team to move to 3-0 in Pool A.
Ontario’s second seeded team from the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club skipped by Chris Rees maintained its status in the undefeated club by with an 8-6 win over Nova Scotia’s Lakeshore Curling Club foursome. Keeping the score close after four, Ontario scored three in the fifth end and held its lead through the rest of the game. This win brings the team to 3-0 atop the Pool B standings.
In other Pool A action, Wright and her Saskatchewan team of Gil Dash, Darwin Bender and Moose Gibson defeated Quebec’s Claude Brunet 7-2 after seven ends in the morning game. After Wright’s squad split their games, it ended the day at a respectable 2-1 record while Brunet moved to 1-1.
British Columbia’s second seed team skipped by Gerry Austgarden also picked up its first win (8-6) over Northern Ontario’s Doug Dean team from Kenora. Tied after five ends, B.C. picked up four points in the sixth end. Northern Ontario battled back scoring in the seventh and stealing the eighth end, but ultimately ran out of ends to catch up. B.C. moved to 1-1 while Northern Ontario continues to search for a win at 0-2.
The other Pool A game featured Newfoundland and Labrador’s Re/Max Centre team skipped by Cecilia Carroll face off against Quebec’s top seeded team skipped by Benoit Lessard. Quebec, in the hunt for its first win, scored three points in the second end and successfully continued to steal points to secure an 8-1 win after six ends. Both Carroll and Lessard sit at 1-2.
In Pool B, Jack Smart, Martin Purvis, Bruno Yizek and Anne Hibberd from Alberta produced a 9-2 win over New Brunswick’s Mike Fitzgerald after a steal of two in the seventh end. The undefeated Smart team was successful in keeping its record perfect with an 8-6 win over the 2017 champions from Manitoba skipped by Dennis Thiessen. What started as a tight match was broken wide open with a steal of four in the fourth end making the score of 6-1 at the halfway point. Alberta finished the day with a perfect 3-0 record while Manitoba moved to 1-2.
Four was the magic number in draw four for Fitzgerald and his Thistle St. Andrews Curling Club team, as they went on to produce an 8-5 win over British Columbia’s top seeded team skipped by Darryl Neighbour. Fitzgerald all but wrapped it up with a score of four in end five followed by a steal in the sixth and seventh ends to pick up its first win of the event. Fitzgerald and Neighbour’s teams are both sitting at 1-2.
Saskatchewan’s second seed Donna Ackerman picked up its first win (8-6) against the Bluenosers skipped by Trendal Hubley-Bolivar. While Nova Scotia held the lead most of the game, the team gave up single steals in both the seventh and eighth ends to fall to the prairie team representing the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre. Ackerman is now 1-1 while Hubley-Bolivar drops to 0-3.
The teams will play six round-robin games, and the top three teams in each pool will advance to the playoffs — the two pool-winners will go straight to the semifinals, set for Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the second- and third-place teams will meet in cross-over quarter-finals (second in Pool A vs. third in Pool B; second in Pool B vs. third in Pool A) Tuesday at 10 a.m.
The gold- and bronze-medal games will take place Wednesday, May 1, at noon.