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Muskie curlers dominate at qualifier

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All three Muskie curling teams dominated the first NorWOSSA qualifier last Thursday in Kenora, making it a clean sweep in the boys, girls and mixed divisions.

The boys’ team, led by skip Bill Crewson and including Chris Matheson (third), Tyler Bell (second), Matt Gushulak (lead), and Joel Perron (fifth), cruised to easy wins over Rainy River (13-3), Thomas Aquinas (10-3), and Beaver Brae (7-2).

Coach Rob Roy Donaldson said their strong performance wasn’t too surprising considering Fort Frances has dominated these qualifiers in recent years.

“They were facing a lot of younger players, and considering the [boys’] team has been together for so many years and they are used to playing a lot of tough competition in town, it wasn’t too surprising,” he noted.

Donaldson said Crewson has benefited from playing against much tougher competition at the junior provincial level, allowing him to become more confident at the high school level.

But that overconfidence almost caught up to Crewson in the Beaver Brae game, who was forced to come back from an early 2-0 deficit.

In girls’ action, the Muskies also cruised to victories over Rainy River (7-4), Thomas Aquinas (5-3), and Beaver Brae (9-3).

The team, coached by Doris Barton, includes Laura McTaggart (skip), Jessica Ross (third), Shaunna Cuthbertson (second), and Sarah Gushulak (lead).

The mixed team also came home from Kenora with a 3-0 record, having beaten Rainy River (8-3), Thomas Aquinas (8-3), and Beaver Brae (11-1).

The team, also coached by Barton, features Matt Hickling (skip), Allison Cox (third), Scott Gosman (second), Jessica DeGagne (lead), Jolene Richert (alternate), and Mike Kehler (alternate).

“We were surprised the teams did this well but [they] played very consistent and very heads-up," noted Barton. ”They didn’t get down and they worked very hard for their points.

“We’re really pleased going into our second bonspiel on Feb. 10,” she added.

Fort Frances is hosting that next qualifier, with the top two teams advancing to the NorWOSSA playdowns Feb. 23-24 in Kenora.

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