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All Muskie rinks strong at qualifier

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They’re heading for home—and for home-ice advantage, as well.

The three Muskie curling rinks served notice that they plan to defend their respective NorWOSSA titles to the end as all showed well at the league qualifier in Sioux Lookout, which wrapped up Tuesday.

With only one loss each, the Muskies are confident heading into the NorWOSSA finals, which are set for Feb. 8-9 at the Fort Frances Curling Club.

The top two boys’ and girls’ finishers will advance to the NWOSSAA finals Feb. 22-23 in Thunder Bay.

The Muskie boys’ team, skipped by Chris Silver, landed in first place at the qualifier with a 5-1 mark.

Silver and his rotating second/third combination of Jason Bazylewski and Daniel Vandenbrand, along with lead Davis Jackson, followed an opening win over the Atikokan Voyageurs with a three-game sweep Monday.

They beat the Red Lake Rams 5-2 in six ends, with the game shortened due to time constraints.

Then after a 12-1 rout of the Kenora Broncoss, the Muskies downed the host Warriors 5-3.

Silver, who was in Sioux Lookout since last Thursday as both a Muskie curler and skipping his own entry at the Region 1 Bantam boys’ playdowns, had his hectic playing schedule take its toll on him physically as he suffered a strained wrist.

With a spot in the NorWOSSA finals already clinched (the top six out of seven teams advanced), Muskie coach Ron Silver turned to Bazylewski to skip Tuesday’s final two games, with Vandenbrand and Jackson throwing three rocks each as the front end.

They lost 5-4 to the Rainy River Owls, but rebounded to beat the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) 8-2.

In the girls’ division, Erin Tomalty led the Muskies to a 4-1 mark and second place in her first NorWOSSA qualifier throwing skip’s stones after playing second for Hailey Beaudry the past three seasons.

Tomalty and her second/third rotating duo of Tory and Anika Beaudry, along with lead Andrea Schram and fifth Ashley Payne, were dumped 8-0 in four ends by the Warriors, who finished in first place at 5-0.

But the Muskies rallied to win three-straight on Monday over Rainy River (7-2), Kenora (11-1), and the Atikokan Voyageurs (8-4).

It was all Fort High in their lone game Tuesday as they rattled the Saints 14-1.

All six teams at the qualifier advanced to the NorWOSSA finals.

Finally, the Muskie team strung together back-to-back good days of play to wind up in second place in their division with a 3-1 record behind Sioux Lookout (3-0-1).

With Maggie Lemesurier unavailable for the qualifier (personal), skip Dawson Mihichuk, third Mackenzie Taylor, second Matt Nowak, and lead Macarthur Wilde took to the ice despite Taylor being the only girl on the team.

With only five teams in the mixed division, thereby all qualifying for the NorWOSSA finals, an all-coaches’ agreement allowed the Muskies to compete with three boys.

Fort High doubled the Whitefish Bay Winterhawks 6-3 in its opener, then fell 7-4 to Sioux Lookout.

The Muskies turned things around with a 8-2 victory over Rainy River before finishing with a 5-2 win over the Saints.

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