After cruising through the round-robin with a perfect 5-0 record and then downing Jeff McDonald (Port Arthur) 7-3 in the semi-finals, Tyler Bell’s Fort Frances rink needed just one more win to earn a berth to the Bantam mixed provincial playdowns in Mississauga.
But it wasn’t to be.
Instead, it will be Krista Scharf who moves on. The Fort William rink stole a pair in the first end and then a single in the second en route to a 6-3 win over Bell in the final of the “Northwestern” playdowns Sunday morning in Geraldton.
Bell, whose rink included third Christin Thomson, second Steven Gushulak, and lead Lindsay Roy, replied with one in the third to pull within 3-1 but that was a close as they would get as both rinks traded singles the rest of the way.
“When they got two in the first end, at the time it was just two points and no big deal, but it was probably the turning point in the game,” coach Raymond Roy said afterwards.
Still, the loss was a tough pill for the local rink to swallow after they went unbeaten in six games—including an 8-3 victory over Scharf in the final game of the round-robin portion.
“There was two or three teams in our pool that were very good teams,” noted Roy. “Our team was not head and shoulders above everyone else. There were three teams in there that curled [at the ‘Northwesterns’] last year.
“It was a pretty strong field—it was a pleasant surprise that we went undefeated,” he added.
Bell opened with an 8-2 win over Kevin Carreira (Geraldton), then beat Ian Hamilton (Dryden) 6-4, Chris Ramsaywak (Marathon) 7-6 in an extra end, and Shane Ketonen (Port Arthur) 8-2.
Meanwhile, Trevor Bonot of Stratton, the other team representing Zone 7 at Geraldton, finished second in his pool with a 3-1 record. But his rink, which included Kelly Nielsen, Jay Woolsey, and Giselle Bonot, was eliminated from further play with a 9-3 loss to Scharf in the playoffs.
After scoring one to open the game, Bonot surrendered a pair in the second and steals of one in the third, two in the fourth, and then a crushing four-ender in the fifth to trail 9-1.
Bonot came back with a pair in the sixth but it was too little, too late.
Bonot’s rink, coached by Brian Bonot, opened action with a 9-3 win over Darryl Gorman (Terrace Bay), then manhandled Matthew Dupuis (Nipigon) 11-5 and nipped Gerry Shaw (Kakabeka Falls) 6-5 in a comeback win.
Their lone loss in pool play was a 9-3 decision to McDonald.