Despite the fact their skip, Angela Lee, is the only one with past all-Ontario experience, the Rainy River Owls rink will be banking on the experience they’ve attained on a different level when they open play tomorrow at the OFSAA championships in Toronto.
Lee’s teammates of third Lisa Bolen, second Danielle Shrumm, and lead Sarah Boily all will be making their first trip to a provincial high school championship.
But that doesn’t mean this talented young rink will be in over their heads going up against the top high school teams in Ontario. That’s because they competed at the national junior ladies playdowns in Kelowna, B.C. earlier this year.
“Playing at the nationals gives us a lot of confidence, and gives us a boost, but it’s hard to say who’s going to be strong and who won’t be because the players change every year,” said Lee, who is making her third trip to the all-Ontarios in four years.
In fact, Lee said she likes it that her rink doesn’t know much, if anything, about their opponents.
“That’s not too bad because you don’t have to worry about playing against certain teams,” she noted. “You can just go out there and play.
“Usually, we don’t have a game plan. We go out there and play, and after a few ends, we try to change our game and play to the other team’s weaknesses.
“We try to let the [other team] dictate the game,” Lee stressed.
The Owls, who captured the NWOSSAA title here two weeks ago with a 10-2 win over Marathon in a tie-breaker, will get their first taste of action tomorrow morning against Nepean.
They hit the ice in tomorrow afternoon versus Markham, then wrap up pool play Friday morning against Chinguacousy, with the playoffs to begin later that day.
That means Lee’s rink could be ousted from the playdowns just over 24 hours after they throw their first rock.
Simply put, there’s no room for error.
Normally, the OFSAA curling playdowns are a 20-team affair with each team playing four games in their pool. With the shortened schedule, Lee admitted every game becomes that much more important.
In fact, her rink barely can afford a loss if they wish for a shot at making the playoffs—let alone a medal.
“With just three games, the games become more important because you want to win them all and get first in your pool and gain even more confidence,” said Lee.
“Our goal, for sure, is to make the playoffs.
“It would be nice to play for a medal—we played for the bronze medal the last few times—but it would be really nice to play in the gold-medal game,” she enthused.
“Oh yeah, that’s our goal . . . to finish in the medals,” added Bolen. “We are getting pretty excited and it’s getting close.”
Bolen said the team would benefit from being seeded high by OFSAA officials, preferably in the top four.