It’s that time of year again and the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s curling team were back at the U Sports National Championships trying to defend their title from a year ago. Unfortunately, the men fell short after a disappointing loss to the Regina Cougars.
This year’s edition of the championship was hosted by the Lakehead Thunderwolves in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Laurier won their first draw of the tournament on Saturday evening in a close match against Lakehead. The draw went to the eleventh end before Laurier was able to secure a 7-6 victory.
Next up, Laurier had back-to-back draws on Sunday afternoon against the Memorial Seahawks and the Dalhousie Tigers. They opened the day with a tough draw against the Seahawks.
— Jack Moore (@MadJack54) March 21, 2017
After going back and forth early on, the Seahawks managed to capitalize on their opportunities and hand the Golden Hawks their first tournament loss since the 2016 nationals.
Looking to rebound against Dalhousie, the Hawks and skip Matt Hall had a strong match and took down the Tigers 9-4.
Day three was a tough one for Laurier as they couldn’t find their game and were handed back-to-back losses from the University of PEI and Queen’s.
With a losing record of 2-3, the Hawks knew they had their work cut out for them on day four in order to make the playoff draws which begin today (Wednesday).
Laurier began the morning with their best overall game of the tournament and were able to defeat Alberta 6-4 in what was a very close match.
“Day three was really tough on us but the game this morning, [I am] proud of the boys and what they came out and did. That one’s always circled on the calendar with the Alberta-Laurier rivalry and if we could’ve played like that the whole week, we would’ve been untouchable,” head coach Matt Wilkinson said.
In their most important draw of the week, the Hawks had themselves a date with the Regina Cougars in hopes of securing a playoff spot.
The Cougars came to play and jumped on the Hawks early and often. Before they knew it, the Purple and Gold found themselves down 7-0 at the break and the bleeding would continue as they lost 10-2 and conceded in the eighth end.
Laurier’s record of 3-4 and poor head-to-head scoring eliminated them from playoff contention.
— Jack Moore (@MadJack54) March 22, 2017
Wilkinson couldn’t pinpoint what exactly de-railed the team’s success.
“You know what? There’s not really one thing that went wrong. We never really got on a roll. You know win, loss, loss — it’s one of those weeks where we fought some things, fought some ice, fought some wait we were just behind the eight ball in a lot of games,” he said.
Although this one will hurt for a while, the team still managed to win a banner and bring home the OUA gold.
“OUA gold — always big for the program. This is my seventh year coaching varsity curling with three different schools. Personally, my first OUA gold, so that was a nice little personal aspect for me but we are a banner sport and we were able to bring a banner home which is very important to us, important to the school and important to everyone involved.”