First wins achieved!
First Canadian curling wins out of the way at FISU World University Games
SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. — If the first win is always the hardest, the Canadian curling teams at the 2023 Lake Placid FISU World University Games have gotten them out of the way.
Teams skipped by Owen Purcell of Dalhousie University in Halifax (1-1) and Abby Marks of the University of Alberta in Edmonton (1-2) earned their first victories at the international multi-sport event on Saturday.
The Canadian men’s team earned a convincing 8-1 victory against Team David Jakl of the Czech Republic (1-1) at the Saranac Lake Civic Centre.
Canada earned the hammer to start the game and blanked two ends before making a hit for two in the third, taking the lead it wouldn’t relent. Canada stole a point in the fourth and two in the fifth before the Czech Republic managed a single point in the sixth.
Skip Purcell, vice-skip Jeffrey Meagher, second Adam McEachren, lead David McCurdy, alternate Caelan McPherson, coach Anthony Purcell and team lead Helen Radford drew handshakes from their opponents after making a hit for three in the seventh to win the game.
The on-ice wins are crucial at the FISU World University Games. But so are the accomplishments of the student-athletes off the ice.
Meagher is wearing the Maple Leaf at a curling event for the first time in his career and it’s an honour the Dalhousie University mechanical engineering graduate is cherishing. His respect for his country goes beyond the curling sheets and extends into his newfound career.
The 23-year-old graduated in May 2022 and now works as a junior engineer at Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax. The company constructs many of the vessels that serve in the Canadian Navy.
“Right now, they’re building Arctic patrol and offshore patrol vessels. They’re building eight for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. Those will be up north protecting Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic,” Meagher said. “Some of the work is challenging, but it’s great to be a part of the national shipbuilding strategy and see the magnitude of the projects come together. There’s so much to learn at the shipyard and that’s what I want right now; to get the most experience that I can.”
The Canadian men now have a chance to build upon the brewing momentum with its first two-game day of the event. First, Canada faces Brazil’s Team Vitor de Mello (0-2) at 9 a.m. (all times ET) and ends the day with a match against Japan’s Team Hayato Sato (1-1) at 7 p.m.
The Canadian women’s team, led by Marks, righted its ship on Saturday by ending the two-game day with a 9-2 win against Japan’s Team Sae Yamamoto (1-2). The team needed the confidence booster after two tough losses to open the event.
“It feels better to get a ‘W’ under our belts. That helps for momentum,” said Marks, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Alberta’s Nutrition and Food Science program.
The game couldn’t have been any more textbook for skip Marks, vice-skip Catherine Clifford, second Brianna Cullen, lead Paige Papley, alternate Serena Gray-Withers, coach Amanda St. Laurent and team lead Radford. Canada was efficient without hammer, forcing Japan to single points in the first and third ends while converting with hammer and scoring two in the second and fourth ends.
The floodgates opened in the fifth. With four Canadian counters in the house, Japan was light on its final draw and gave up a steal of four. Japan had a chance to score in the sixth end but gave up a steal of one.
“We were much better at stringing shots together through all the positions and that made our lives a little bit easier and I hope that momentum carries,” Marks said.
On Saturday morning, the Canadian women faced Team Delaney Strouse of the United States (2-1) in a Northern American battle. The Americans dominated the middle ends of the game. First was a score of two in the third end, followed by steals of one in the fourth and two in the fifth. The United States ran Canada out of stones in the eighth end for an 8-4 win.
Team Marks has one game on Sunday, a bout against Spain’s Carmen Perez (0-3) at 2 p.m.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2023 FISU World University Games are available by clicking here.
TSN will broadcast select curling games. Click here for the full schedule.
This story will be available in French as soon as possible here.