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Gobeil captures bronze at police curling nationals

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Scott Gobeil is no stranger to winning.

The local curler made his seventh trip to the podium when he earned a bronze medal as a member of Team Manitoba at the 52nd-annual Canadian Police Curling Championships in Moncton, N.B. over the weekend.

“Overall it was a good week,” the Fort Frances OPP detective enthused. “We lost in the semis and ended up getting third.”

Gobeil, who played third alongside skip Don Nelson, second Kevin Wilson, and lead Hugh Fidler, enjoyed a strong week that saw the rink go 9-2 in round-robin play.

The squad’s sterling record put them in a three-way tie for second with Team Canada and British Columbia—one game behind first-place Ontario.

However, based on a shootout conducted earlier in the week, Team Canada wound up second while Manitoba and British Columbia placed third and fourth, respectively.

As such, Ontario faced Team Canada in the 1 vs. 2 game of the Page playoff while Manitoba squared off against Dale Hockley’s B.C. rink in the 3 vs. 4 match.

Manitoba found themselves tied 4-4 through six ends but broke the game wide open with a four-ender in the seventh.

Hockley would not go quietly, though, as his rink scored a single in the eighth and then a deuce in the ninth to cut the Manitoba lead to just one.

But Manitoba scored a single of their own in the 10th for the 9-7 victory.

“That was a see-saw battle the entire way and it came down to the last rock,” Gobeil said of the tightly-contested affair.

“We had the hammer to start the game and that was always key,” he added. “When the teams are that close, whoever has the hammer has the edge to start the game. You don’t always win, but it sure helps.

“It was nice winning it.”

Meanwhile, Garth Mitchell’s Team Canada rink scored three in the 10th to earn an improbable 9-8 come-from-behind victory over Wyllie Allan’s Ontario rink to advance directly to the final.

In the semi-final, Ontario jumped out to an 3-0 lead over Manitoba courtesy a deuce in the first end and a single in the second.

Manitoba rallied with a deuce of their own in the third, but Ontario fired back with another deuce in the fourth to increase their lead to 5-2.

After scoring a single in the fifth, Manitoba faltered—allowing Ontario to score a deuce in the sixth and three more in the seventh to grab a commanding 10-3 lead.

Down seven with only three ends to go, Manitoba decided it best to shake hands and concede.

“It really wasn’t all that close,” Gobeil lamented. “We were chasing them the whole game.”

In the final, Team Canada earned a narrow 6-5 win over Ontario to repeat as champions.

Despite failing to make the final, Gobeil and Wilson were honoured as tournament all-stars at their respective positions.

The Manitoba teammates were joined on the all-star squad by Hockley at skip and Team Canada lead Troy Izlakar.

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