‘Three-peat’ victory for Keffer rink
Having just represented Northern Ontario at the recent M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior curling championships in Fort McMurray, Alta., one might expect that Fort Frances native Tirzah Keffer would take a little break to rest and recharge.
Instead, the 21-year-old, who attends Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, reunited with former Muskie teammates Samantha Mueller, Taylor Hartlin, and Carley Busch to capture the ‘A’ title of the Fort Frances Curling Club’s annual ladies’ bonspiel for a third-straight year, edging Christine Jean 6-5 in the final Saturday night.
“It feels like we were just curling yesterday, and it all worked out well for us.
“We love curling together, and we would love to try and win it again next year,” she added.
Keffer broke open what had been a tightly-contested final by stealing three points in each of the fifth and sixth ends to grab a 6-2 lead.
“I feel that the steal in the fifth end was a big turning point for us,” Keffer recalled.
“We felt like that we had cracked them a little bit, and we felt like that we could do it and win the game.
“Then we were able to steal again in the sixth end, and that was a bonus for us because we didn’t expect that to happen at all,” she added.
After Jean scored a single point in the seventh end, Keffer found herself facing three opposing stones when she had to throw the final shot of the game. But she was able to take one of Jean’s rocks out to secure the win.
“I was a little hesitant to do the wide take-out because I only saw about half the rock and I had lost the final a couple of years ago on a similar shot,” Keffer noted.
“So I’m always a little bit hesitant about that.
“I originally thought that I needed to sit in the eight-foot in order to not force an extra, but we only needed to be in the 12-foot to count, so that made the shot a lot easier to take one of her rocks out that was sitting out front,” she added.
While the Keffer rink topped the 14-team field, three other event winners also were crowned Saturday.
In the ‘B’ final, Theresa McFayden and her foursome, which featured third Lisa Penner, second Cindy McKinnon, and lead Kris Sinclair, won 9-1 in six ends over Peggy Loyie.
“There was really no competitiveness between the two teams as we were just out there to have fun, which was what we did all weekend,” McFayden said.
“We wish that we could have some more teams come out and join us here, especially for next year’s tournament, as it is always a blast,” she added.
The ‘C’ final saw a 6-0 shutout victory in four ends for Kim Beaudry over Sylvia Smeeth. Beaudry teamed up with her sister, Kelly Wager, and her daughters, Hailey and Victoria, for the weekend.
“It was a good game to play in and we played well, also,” said Beaudry, who threw skip’s stones while Hailey called the game.
“We lost the coin toss, but we stole a couple of points right away and then we got lucky by stealing three in the fourth end.
“This was our opponent’s fourth game of the day and they were definitely feeling it,” she added.
The most exciting game of the night took place in the ‘D’ final as Elaine Sande prevailed 9-8 in an extra end over Charlotte Bazylewski.
Trailing 8-7 heading into the eighth end, Sande made a take-out to force an extra end. Then she watched in the ninth as Bazylewski’s run-back attempt went inches wide of Sande’s shot rock in the four-foot.
“It was an exciting game to play in,” smiled Sande, who was joined by third Krista Ballard, second Nicole Turcotte, and lead Sally Stewart.
“Charlotte had played an awesome end in the eighth but we were able to open things up there before my takeout attempt, which I was lucky to make because I don’t like the out-turn,” Sande noted.
“[Then] we got one in there right away in the extra end and we tried to guard the heck out of it,” added Sande.
“But she [Bazylewski] had a chance to make the raise-double, which she just missed, unfortunately.”