Quebec win 2013 Canadian Nationals
(click on team for team members)
Sunday March 31 Final
Quebec, who had been the cream of the tournament throughout the round robin, affirmed their superiority in their 10-4 Page 1v2 playoff win over BC, by an even more emphatic 10-2 win in the final.
They took 4 in the 1st end, with BC skip perhaps leaving it too late to attempt draws into the open left side of the sheet. By the time he threw his rocks, both of which fell short of the rings, Quebec were sitting four and narrowly missed a split for a 5th point.
In the 2nd, as so often happens when your previous shot has been light, Cormack was heavy on his draw to save a point, and instead gave up a steal.
In the 3rd, Quebec looked to have received a lucky break when an over-curled attempt at a guard promoted their stone to shot. BC had a last rock chance to hit and stick for 2, but took just 1 when they rolled out.
In the 4th, Cormack's draw barely made it over the hogline, allowing Quebec an open draw into the rings for their 2nd point and a 7-1 lead at the break.
Skip Cormack looked exhausted, and wasn't getting a whole lot of help from his teammates. Their situation did not improve after the break, though a Quebec attempted guard briefly promoted a yellow BC rock to shot. The next BC stone slid up to it, allowing Quebec to double them away. BC were light on an attempted tap back, allowing another Quebec steal.
BC managed to get on the board in the 6th, but a raised takeout of BC's shot stone for 2 by Quebec with the last stone of the 7th put them ahead 10-2 allowing the teams to shake hands.
The win is Quebec's first podium appearance in five Championships, and they led from start to finish. Their only loss was a round robin defeat by BC.
It is a truism that wheelchair curling is a game of misses. Though this one-sided game had its share, it was good to see the final shot of the tournament was a planned and beautifullt executed raise takeout by Quebec, very worthy champions who finally showed the form at the National Championship that they have often displayed at bonspiels.
Sunday March 31 Seni-final
True to round robin form BC played Alberta in this morning's semi-final, with Alberta once again not destined to graduate from bridesmaid to bride. Alberta have been loding finalists in 3 of the past 4 Championships, but went down to BC by a score of 8-7.
As Jean Mills writing for the CCA reports:
The game started cautiously, with a 3-3 tie after three ends. In the fourth,
both teams had rocks positioned around the 12-foot. Yizek was forced to draw
for the single and slid too far, giving B.C. the steal of two and a 5-3 lead
heading into the break.
Saturday March 30 Page Playoff 3v4
Alberta won a close game 8-6 over Page playoff opponents Northern Ontario, but began this game determoned to put the game away early. They raced to a 6-0 lead at the break, on 3 consecutive steals, before N. Ontario fought ack with a deuce in 5 and a steal of 2 in the 6th,
In the 7th end N. Ontario had two stones abreast on the button with no other stones in play, but their attempted guard was too deep and Alberta would have been hard pressed to miss the 3 stones on the t-line. Alberta eventually took 2 for a 8-4 lead, and then ran their opponents out of stones to claim their place in the semi-final against BC tomorrow morning.
For skip Gino Sonego's team of Doug Dean (3rd) Richard Dawid (2nd) and lead Lola Graham, it was their province's best result since 2009 and a very creditable effort for a team's first appearance in a competition at this level.
Saturday March 30 Page Playoff 1v2
Quebec avenged their only round robin defeat (7-2) by walloping BC 10-4 in the Page playoff 1 vs 2 game this morning. Though BC got off to a fast start, stealing 2 in the 1st, they conceeded the next 7 points, and the teams shook hands after 7 ends when Quebec added 3 more.
This ensures Quebec achieves their best ever result in their 5th Canadian Championship, while BC await the winners of this afternoon's 3v4 game between Alberta and Northern Ontario in tomorrow morning's semi-final.
Friday March 29 - Draw 9
Last night's top four teams (QC, BC, AB, NO) made it to the Page playoffs with the possibility of tie breaks disappearing when Newfoundland and Labrador fell 10-4 to Manitoba. Each of today's five winning teams reached double figures, and at the end of a long week with the losers other than Newfoundland and Labrador with little to play for, the margins were large.
BC (7-2) put away Northern Ontario (5-4), securing their place in the Page 1/2 game. They were 6-1 ahead after 3 ends and the teams shook hands after a steal of 3 in the 6th with BC ahead 10-2.
Quebec (8-1) gave up a steal in the 1st but put 10 on the board for a 10-1 win over Ontario (4-5) in 7 ends. Alberta (6-3) raced out to a 5-1 lead after 3 ends and scored the last 5 points in their 10-3 defeat of New Brunswick.(3-6)
Nova Scotia (3-6) scored the first 11 points in their 12-4 defeat of fading Saskatchewan (3-6) to lift themselves off the foot of the table.
Alberta play Northern Ontario at 10AM Saturday in the Page 3/4 game with the winner to play the loser of the 3PM Page 1/2 game between Quebec and BC in Sunday's semi-final.
Thursday March 28 - Draw 8
Quebec (7-1) secured their place in the Page playoff 1vs2 game with a narrow win over defending champions Saskatchewan (3-5). Though they only scored in 3 of the 8 ends, a 4 just before the break put them ahead 7-2, and while Saskatchewan fought back with steals in 6 and 7 to pull within a point, a deuce with the hammer in the 8th saw Quebec through.
BC (6-2) also booked a playoff spot and improved their prospects of a 1vs2 berth with a narrow win over Ontario (3-5). The hosts had a series of VIP photo-ops to deal with, as Defense Minister Peter MacKay, Minister for Sport Bal Gosal and CCA chief Greg Stremlaw made the rounds, as did Team Canada and World bronze medallist lead Lisa Weagle.
Ontario were attempting to keep their playoff chances alive but their three steals were cancelled by a steal of 3 in the 6th by BC who went on to win 6-5.
Alberta (5-3), with tie-break advantage over BC and Northern Ontario going into the draw, played bottom placed Nova Scotia (2-6) and raced out to a 8-2 lead after 3 ends. Nova Scotia did not cooperate, taking the next 8 points, and held Alberta to a single in the 8th to take the game 10-9.
Northern Ontario (5-3) also blew their chance to guarantee a playoff spot, overwhelmed by mercurial Newfoundland & Labrador 11-2, who stole the last 7 points.
The only game with no playoff implications was the featured webcast between Manitoba (3-5) and New Brunswick (2-6). Manitoba looked to have the game in hand, ahead 7-4 and sitting shot, but skip Chris Sobkowicz's last rock attempt at a guard, came far too deep, allowing a straightforward double that would have forced an extra. Mike Fitzgerald's final stone was too tight and crashed on a front stone to give Manitoba a rare 9-4 win.
If Newfoundland and Labrador beat Manitoba in tomorrow morning's final draw, Northern Ontario will have to beat BC and Alberta will have to beat New Brunswick, the other 2-6 team, to avoid tie-breaks.
Thursday March 29 - Draw 7
There was good news and bad news for Quebec in the midday draw. They qualified for the playoffs, but lost their first game to a surging BC team. BC (5-2) put the pressure on early, taking the opening end with hammer, then posting two steals. Though Quebec (6-1) pulled back to within two at the break, BC repeated the process after the break, taking 1 with hammer and then stealing twice for a 7-2 win.
Alberta (5-2) played a see-saw game against Northern Ontario (5-2) winning 8-6 when Northern Ontario's attempted last rock takeout of Alberta's shot stone back 12, missed and Alberta were not required to draw for the win.
Newfoundland & Labrador managed to post some hard to find points, going out to an early 3-0 lead against New Brunswick (2-5) but gave it back in the 3rd. New Brunswick claimed 3 stolen ends winning 9-5 to lift them off the bottom of the table.
Manitoba (2-5) continued to disappoint their supporters, giving up 4 stolen points to open their game against Saskatchewan (3-4), who stole 6 of their 7 points in their 7-3 win. This Manitoba team is very experienced and their lack of success puzzling. One Manitoban's theory was "If you don't have any provincial competition, you don't practice as hard as you might." Whatever, with places on the 2014 Paralympic squad still open, Manitoba's back end of Thiessen and Sobkowicz will not have helped their prospects in front of CCA coaches.
Ontario (3-4) overcame Nova Scotia (1-6) 8-4 to keep their very faint hopes for perhaps a tie-break chance of making the playoffs, though with 5 teams with 2 or fewer losses and just 2 games to go, it's not looking good for the 3-4 teams.
Wednesday March 28 - Draw 6
Quebec (6-0) continued their stroll at the top of the table, pounding a Newfoundland and Labrador (3-3) side that has managed a total of just two points over three of their last four games. They were never in this game, giving up steals of 3 in each of three ends. Quebec are not only unbeaten, they have scored the most points, given up the fewest, stolen the most ends and given up the fewest steals by a plus 18 margin
By Draw 6 fatigue begins to set in and games tend to be shorter and scores wider. Only Ontario (2-4) was pushed by Saskatchewan (2-4) to an 8th end in their 7-4 win. Steals of 2 in the 3rd and 6th were the difference, and the loss drops the defending champions perilously close to dropping out of playoff contention.
Alberta (4-2) did their best to end Manitoba's (2-4) 2013 challenge. They stole singles in the 4th, 5th and 6th for a comfortable 6-1 lead, and despite giving Manitoba a ray of hope when they scored a deuce in 7, ran them out of rocks to win 6-3.
Northern Ontario (5-1) continued to perform well, not allowing New Brunswick (1-5) onto the board until the 6th end of an 8-1 victory. Northern Ontario were unfancied going in to this year's competition, but may pull the same sort of surprise Saskatchewan delivered last year. They have lost just once, to Quebec, but still have Alberta and BC to play.
BC (4-2) pounded Nova Scotia (1-5) 11-3 and have the playoffs firmly in sight after a shaky start to the championship.
Wednesday March 27 - Draw 5
Quebec and Northern Ontario, the two previously unbeaten teams, faced off in the morning draw. It was a close game through 6 ends before Quebec stole 4 in the 7th and won 10-4. Quebec have never placed better than 4th despite being a team prepared to travel, with success, to bonspiels. Their skip Ben Lessard will be hoping to catch the eye of CCA coaches and possibly claim the 5th Paralympic spot. Certainly his team, who have allowed only two stolen ends in the 5 draws, are doing their best to support him.
Nova Scotia got off the mark with a decisive 7-1 win over Newfoundland and Labrador, who began the game with the hammer but had to wait to the 5th end to post their first and only point.
Alberta appear to be gaining momentum. Single
point steals in the 7th and 8th were the difference in their 6-3 win over
Ontario. BC handed Manitoba their third defeat, 7-4 after stealing the final
Tuesday March 26 - Draw 4
Joanne MacDonald's Newfoundland and Labrador rink continued their spectacular change in fortune, equalling the total of wins they achieved in their previous three appearances at the Nationals. They fell behind to defending champs Saskatchewan 6-1 at the break, surrendering the openig 3 points on steals. It was a different matter after the break as they finished with 7 stolen points for a 10-6 win.
Manitoba had another slow start, giving up a steal in the 1st to New Brunswick. They soon settled, taking 2 in the 2nd, then stealing 2, before posting a 4 and an immediate steal of 4 after the break. The teams shook hands after 6 ends with the score 12-3.
BC managed just a single point in the featured webcast game against Alberta, losing 8-1 in 6 ends. Quebec remain undefeated, posting 5 in the 6th to break a 3-3 tie with New Brunswick on their way to an 8-4 win.
Ontario and Northern Ontario play for the John McCrae Trophy when they meet in the round robin. Ontario won the first meeting in 2008, and regained the trophy in 2010, but Northern Ontario have owned it since then. This year was no different as Northern Ontario, with rookie skip Gino Sonego, blew the game open with a steal of 4 just after the break. The 8-5 win kept them alongside Quebec at the top of the standings.
Tuesday March 26 - Draw 3
Mike Fitzgerald skipped his rookie New Brunswick team to an extra end 7-6 win, leaving his long-time team-mates in Nova Scotia still looking for their first victory. New Brunswick started with steals in the first 3 ends, and despite giving back their 4 point lead at the break, stole again in the 6th to edge ahead 6-4. Nova Scotia skip Trendal Hubley-Bolivar, who played second under Fitzgerald, levelled the score with a steal in the 8th but New Brunswick posted their first ever win at a National Championship with a game winning single in the extra.
Northern Ontario, the other rookie team continued to prosper under skip Gino Sonego's guidance, beating defending champions Saskatchewan 7-2. Steals of two in the 2nd and 7th sealed their third win.
They share top of the table honours with Quebec who kept Alberta off the board until the 6th end, winning their third straight 6-2. Newfoundland and Labrador suffered their first loss, unable to get in their game against previously winless BC who scored 9 unanswered points before handshakes.
Winless Manitoba, one of the favourites for the title, got their game back on track with an 8-4 win over Ontario, despite giving up a steal in the 1st. The took their single in the 2nd and then posted 7 stolen points in their 8-4 win
Monday March 25 - Draw 2
Newfoundland & Labrador continued their morning form, opening with a steal of 3 and handing Ontario their first loss 8-4. They are joined at the top of the table by Quebec who needed an extra end to beat Manitoba 6-5, and Northern Ontario who handed Nova Scotia their second loss 10-4.
Alberta were 5-6 down to Saskatchewan after 7 ends but stole 4 in the 8th for their first win 9-6. BC posted their first win 9-5 over New Brunswick on the back of steals in the 3rd, 4th and 5th ends.
Monday March 25 - Draw 1
On swingy ice that Alberta's coach hoped would benefit his very experienced side, the opening draw produced some big ends and even bigger upsets.
Newfoundland and Labrador, who had managed just 3 wins total over the past three championships, upset frequent silver medallists Alberta 8-7, despite giving up 6 in the 3rd end.
The rookies from Northern Ontario gave up steals in two of the first 3 ends but fought back with 4 stolen points after the break to beat the very experienced Manitobans 6-4.
Saskatchewan showed the form that climbed them from also-rans to defending champions, racing to an 8-1 lead after 6 ends. BC skip Gary Cormack must have been tempted to shake hands, but fought back with a 5 in the 7th, before losing momentum and sliding to 10-6 loss.
Quebec were comfortable 7-3 winners over Nova Scotia, skipped by their long time 2nd, Trendal Hubley-Bolivar. And their was no first-time-lucky for rookie New Brunswick, who surrendered the games first 7 points in an 11-2 loss to Ontario.
Sunday March 24 - Preview
This year's Canadian National Wheelchair Curling Championships are taking place at the RA Centre in Ottawa, home to Canada's most active grassroots curling program. With the appearance this year of New Brunswick, for the first time there will be a full slate of ten provinces competing, which means the organizers miss out on the opportunity to field a local Host team.
New Brunswick’s skip is Mike Fitzgerald, who
led Nova Scotia from 2008 to 2011 and in just two years has established
enough interest to field a competitive team.
Chris Sobkowicz, who has a well-deserved
reputation as a hard-nosed skip, sounded quite mellow when asked for his
thoughts going into the competition: “The team is working hard and paying
attention to enjoying the journey.”
They failed to make the final, which had it's
own share of drama when Team Cormack's lead fell and needed paramedic
attention. For a time it looked as though Cormack might have to default
because of the mixed gender rule. Had that arisen, their opponents, Rich
Green's rink, in an inspiring gesture of sportsmanship, agreed to concede
the game as Cormack had beaten them in Round robin play. The game was
finally played at full strength and Cormack makes his third appearance at
skip in the past years.
Last year's playoff games were extremely close, with Saskatchewan coming from nowhere to steal the championship winning point from Alberta in an extra end. This year's games will be webcast, and we can hope that Chris Daw's coverage of the event comes close to the excellent and expert commentary provided by last year's hosts Northern Ontario.
Standings after Round Robin
(click on team for team members)
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