Monday, April 21, 2014

Bantam rink heading back to provincials

They’re one year older and they are counting on being at least one place better in the standings.
That’s the goal for the Christopher Silver rink from Fort Frances, which captured the Northern Ontario Curling Association’s Bantam regional qualifier over the weekend in Sioux Lookout.

Silver and his rink of third Reece Jones, second Kurt McGuire, and lead Jason Bazylewski qualified for their second-straight provincial championship, which will be held Jan. 30-Feb. 2 in Sault Ste. Marie.
“I think the team is more prepared this year,” coach Ron Silver said about the quartet, which finished fourth at the provincials last year.
“Last year, we had two 15-year-olds and two 13-year-olds going up against mostly 16-year-olds,” he noted.
“They’re a little older, a little bigger, and have more experience now.”
The Silver rink gave up no steals all weekend and only one three-ender in posting a 4-0 record, and will now get to take the ice that defending Brier champion and recent Canadian Olympic trials winner Brad Jacobs calls home.
“They made the big shots when they had to,” said Ron Silver.
“We already had clinched first place after our third win, so we took our foot off the gas a bit in the fourth game but still came out with a win.”
The top three finishers at the provincials also will qualify for the Ontario Winter Games slated Feb. 27-March 4 in the Muskoka region.
Also playing into the local team’s favour is the fact not as many returning rinks are expected at this year’s provincial showdown.
One that Ron Silver already has his eye on as a contender to watch is the rink skipped by Tanner Horgan of Sudbury, the brother of this year’s Ontario Scotties Tournament of Hearts provincial qualifier Tracy Horgan, who has Devlin native Jenna Enge on her team.
“He’ll definitely provide some stiffer competition,” Silver warned.
In Bantam girls’ action, meanwhile, the Hailey Beaudry rink from Fort Frances literally was a hair’s length away from getting their own trip to the Soo.
Beaudry and her team of third Nicole Hartlin, second Erin Tomalty, and co-leads Tori and Anika Beaudry lost their second-last game on a last-rock measurement that saw them come up on the wrong end of things.
Then in their final game, and still with a chance to advance to the provincials, it again took until the very last rock to decide the game by less than an inch.
“The girls played super hard,” said Ron Silver, who believed (but wasn’t certain) that the team would enter into the last-chance qualifying event slated for Jan. 10 in Stratton.
“It’s just a matter of some of the girls getting some work and school commitments figured out,” he explained.

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