The Muskie girls’ curling team, coming off a disappointing showing at a qualifying bonspiel here two weeks ago, finished with a 4-1 record—and the gold medal—at the NorWOSSA playdowns in Kenora on Monday.
The team also advanced to the NWOSSAA playdowns March 8-10 in Thunder Bay.
“The girls just didn’t curl well at the Fort Frances bonspiel," said coach Doris Barton. "They just weren’t feeling up to par [due to the ’flu].”
But the girls were certainly on par at NorWOSSA, reeling off four consecutive victories to clinch the gold medal before losing 8-6 to Thomas Aquinas (Kenora) in a meaningless game to wrap up the round-robin.
The girls opened the playdowns with wins over Sioux Lookout (8-6), Red Lake (9-7), Rainy River (10-9 in an extra end), and Atikokan (10-2).
Barton said the turning point in their quest for the gold came in the final end against Rainy River when skip Laura McTaggart made a perfect shot to get one to tie the score at 9-9, then won the game in the extra end when the Rainy River skip missed her final shot.
“Laura curled very consistently [at NorWOSSA]," enthused Barton. "The whole team never got down and they were really pumped going into that extra end.”
The team also includes Jessica Ross (third), Shauna Cuthbertson (second), and Sarah Gushulak (lead).
Meanwhile, Thomas Aquinas earned the other berth to NWOSSAA next month after winning a three-team playoff, beating Sioux Lookout 5-4 in an extra end and then nipping Rainy River (which had the bye) by a 3-1 count.
In boys’ action, the Muskies also advanced to NWOSSAA although they fell short of the gold medal when they lost 6-3 to the Dryden Eagles in the final game of the round-robin.
Both teams went into the match with 4-0 records.
The black-and-gold, skipped by Bill Crewson, opened with a lopsided 13-5 win over Sioux Lookout, then edged Red Lake 5-4 and trounced Beaver Brae (Kenora) 7-1.
They then edged Rainy River 7-6 to set up the gold-medal showdown with Dryden.
Crewson’s rink also includes Chris Matheson (third), Joel Perron (second), Matt Gushulak (lead), and Tyler Bell (fifth).
Meanwhile, the Muskie mixed team failed to advance to Thunder Bay after finishing with a 1-4 record at NorWOSSA.
After opening with a 9-3 win over Dryden, the black-and-gold lost 9-8 to Red Lake, 9-8 to Beaver Brae (in an extra end), 10-4 to Rainy River, and then 10-2 to Atikokan.
The mixed team featured Matt Hickling (skip), Allison Cox, Michael Kehler, Jessica DeGagne, Scott Gosman, and Jolene Richert.