A return trip to the worlds just wasn't in the cards for Team Bonot at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship last week in Winnipeg.
The squad—comprised of Stratton-born siblings Trevor Bonot (skip) and Jackie McCormick (third), along with fellow Stratton native Angela Lee-Wiwcharyk (lead) and Mike McCarville of Thunder Bay (second)—compiled a 5-4 record while representing Northern Ontario at the nationals and ultimately fell short of qualifying for the championship pool.
Bonot said it was a disappointing outcome but he also was proud with how his rink stuck together.
“We, for sure, succeeded in being a team on and off the ice,” he lauded.
“We had a great experience, and Mike and I were even fortunate enough to be voted most sportsmanlike [at our positions] by our peers.”
The rink opened Pool 'A' play last Sunday (Nov. 4) with a 9-2 thumping of Nunavut but then fell 7-3 to Manitoba the following afternoon.
Team Bonot didn't score until the fourth end in that one and gave up three to Manitoba in the next end, which proved too great of a deficit to come back from.
But the rink rebounded in a big way with a 7-4 victory over Quebec last Tuesday morning before downing Newfoundland and Labrador 6-2 that afternoon.
In what Bonot felt was the turning point for his squad's disappointing finish, Yukon handed them a tough 10-6 loss last Wednesday morning.
“It was a game that we came up against a hot-handed team and we were not sharp,” he conceded.
“That loss put our backs against the wall for a must-win against Saskatchewan.”
But the match against Saskatchewan that evening proved to be exceptionally tough. Although Bonot led 5-2 heading to the final two ends, Saskatchewan scored a deuce in both to steal the win.
“We played a fantastic game and we set ourselves up for a shot to win, but a miss on my last rock let the game slip away,” Bonot recalled.
"This loss knocked us out of contention for winning the entire event.
“Overall, I was extremely disappointed in not making the championship round but still very proud to represent the 'moose' and Northern Ontario,” he enthused.
“Playing in a national with my sister, and a lifelong friend, was truly a dream come true.”
After defeating the Northwest Territories 9-6 on Thursday morning, the rink then fell to New Brunswick by 9-5 score that afternoon.
Then they capped tourney play with a 6-4 victory over P.E.I. on Friday afternoon to finish second in the seeding pool behind New Brunswick.
“I think our biggest challenge was getting used to the ice," Bonot said. ”We never [were] really felt comfortable with it and that kept us from being totally confident with our game.
“But the ice was the same for all players," he stressed. ”Other teams just picked it up better than us.
“[Still], the entire event was great, and we were so fortunate to have a lot of family and friends there to support us,” he enthused.
Bonot said the rink hasn't discussed its future yet but will get together to decide whether they want to make another run at the provincials next year.
“The team has no plans as a unit but individually we will be on our own teams,” he noted.
"Mike and I will be curling against each other in men's [playdowns], trying to make it to the provincials in Nipigon.
“Then I will also be curling mixed doubles in the spring.”