Men’s curling wins gold while women capture bronze
For the fourth time in six years, the Laurier men’s curling team has struck gold at the provincial championships.
A near perfect season which saw Laurier finish 8-2 in conference play, while also winning the McMaster Invitational carried over to the OUA Championships last weekend in Guelph.
Both Golden Hawks varsity curling teams with their performances in Guelph were able to qualify for the USPORTS National Championships taking place in Manitoba. The men’s team put together another near flawless performance as they won nine of their ten games over the five-day tournament including the gold medal victory, 7-3 against Brock.
The men’s team suffered their only loss to Carleton and was able to rebound quickly as they beat Guelph to qualify for the gold medal game against the Brock Badgers.
Overall at the tournament the men’s team outscored their opponents 77-25 in the ten games of competition.
“It feels amazing, it’s everything you work for the entire year. All the time training with the team and, you know, playing ten grueling games out here all week, to come out on top is an amazing feeling,” Skipper Matt Hall said after winning his second OUA Championship with the Hawks.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the rest of my guys for sticking in there in a tough gold medal game against Brock, but being able to come out on top and hoist the trophy once again is only something you can dream of,” Hall further said.
The rest of the guys that Matt Hall is talking about include Vice John Willsey, second Jordie Lyon-Hatcher, lead Graham Singer and alternate Adam Vincent. The team was able to take advantage and capture momentum in the tough gold medal game as they came back from three points, scoring seven of their own all unanswered by Brock.
“Laurier curling is about winning championships and we pride ourselves on that. It’s great!” Head Coach Matt Wilkinson said of his team’s performance in Guelph.
Vice, John Willsey and second, Jordie Lyon-Hatcher were honoured after the tournament as they were named OUA All-Stars. Lyon-Hatcher had won his second provincial championship with Laurier, while Willsey joins the rest of the team, winning their first as a Golden Hawk.
The women’s team led by skip Isabelle Ladouceur also put together a strong performance as she led her team to a bronze medal at the Championships.
Following a tough 4-2 loss to the eventual champion McMaster Marauders, the Golden Hawks remained focus heading into the bronze medal game against Guelph. Knowing that a win and ultimately a medal would qualify them for the National Championships later in March, coach John Gabel had his team ready as the women beat Guelph’s team in decisive 8-1 fashion.
Vice Brooklyn Fahl, second Emma McKenzie, lead Kelly Middaugh and alternate Stacy Huras put together an incredible performance in their final provincial game, as they were never really in danger of losing to Guelph.
With complete control of the match, the women’s team received the bronze medal and will join the men’s team in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.
The USPORTS Nationals should feature some advanced competition from other regions of Canada but men’s Head Coach Matt Wilkinson is up for the challenge.
“We are sure to see some stepped up competition when we get to Manitoba, but we hope we are able to continue to stay confident and have a strong showing,” Wilkinson said.
Both curling teams put together another strong season as they remain to be some one of the must successful sports teams that Laurier has seen in recent years. The next challenge for them begins March 11th, when they travel to Manitoba for the National Championships!