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Tigers curling teams bring home medals at the Canadian U Sports Championships

Men earn silver and women take the bronze at championships in Fredericton

Both the Dalhousie University men’s and women’s curling teams attended the U Sports Curling Championships in Fredericton from March 12-16. Each team came home with a medal, but both were shy of the gold. 

Silver for the Men 

Heading into the championships, the Halifax-based rink felt ready to play with the best teams from universities across the country. 

“We knew we had a fairly strong team, lots of talent…we knew there was a tough road ahead of us because a lot of these schools are really good as well, and have really good programs and good coaching,” said Owen Purcell, Dal’s skip. 

“We knew we were going to have to play well, but we rode with the confidence that we had from AUS.” 

The Tigers started off strong with four wins but lost their next two games, dropping to four wins and two losses (4-2). To close out the round robin, the men upended a fellow Maritime school, the University of New Brunswick, for a final record of 5-2. 

Their record secured them one of four playoff spots, with a semifinal match against Wilfrid Laurier University, who they lost to in the round robin the day before.

“We were fortunate that we had the chance to bounce back against UNB,” said Purcell. “That really allowed us to regain some confidence going into that [semifinal game].”

In the semifinal, the Tigers had a fast start, stealing four points in the first three ends and forcing Laurier to a single point in the fourth. 

In the sixth end, they gave up a steal of two. The men played strong seventh and eighth ends to stretch the lead to 8-3, forcing Laurier to concede the game.

In the final, Dal faced off against the University of Regina. The first half was close, resulting in a 2-1 lead for the Tigers at the mid-game break. 

Regina then scored two points in the sixth end to lead 3-2. The Tigers were forced to one point in the seventh end, the game tied 3-3 going into the eighth. 

The Cougars held momentum in the eighth, scoring five points to take a commanding 8-3 lead. The Tigers scored two in the ninth end to close the gap, making the final score 8-5 for Regina. 

The women’s team stands with their bronze medals after beating the University of New Brunswick. Image credit: Rob Blanchard with Curling Canada

Bronze for the Women 

The women got off to a slow start with a 1-2 record after the first two days, beating Mount Allison University but dropping games against the University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick. 

“Those games were pretty tough because we still played really well as a team, so it’s hard to pinpoint where it went wrong,” said Ally MacNutt, Dal’s skip. “I think it was just some key shots that we were missing and we weren’t really able to bounce back from those misses.” 

However, the Tigers came back on day three to achieve a 3-2 record by the end of the day. 

“It was a new day and we just took what we learned from those games and moved on,” said MacNutt. “I think our mindset definitely changed a little bit because we knew we needed to work a little harder especially if we wanted to make [the] playoffs.” 

The women finished the round robin with a 4-3 record. Their record qualified them for the playoffs as the fourth seed, matching them up against the number one seed, the University of Alberta, for the playoffs

In the semifinal, Alberta jumped out to an early lead, getting two in the first end and six points by the sixth end. 

The Tigers did manage to score two points in the seventh and steal one in the eighth to cut the lead in half, but gave up two more in the ninth end to make the final score 8-3 for Alberta. 

The tough loss put the Tigers in the bronze medal game against UNB. 

“The goal was to make the playoffs and hopefully win a medal,” said MacNutt. 

Dal faced a familiar opponent in UNB, a team that defeated them in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship final and in the U Sports round robin. The first three ends were close, with both teams only scoring single points and Dal leading 2-1 after three. 

In the fourth end, the Tigers broke the game open with three points and stretched the lead to 9-1 by the end of the fifth. UNB picked up a single point in the sixth end to complete the scoring in the Tigers’ 9-2 bronze medal win.


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