Laurier men’s curling advance to semifinals at championships
KELOWNA, B.C. — It all comes down to this.
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s curling team are on their way to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships medal round. After a win against the Waterloo Warriors, the Hawks secured second place in the standings with an overall record of 6-1 and face off against the Victoria Vikes in the semifinal round.
Head coach Glenn Paulley said the team is feeling good about their chances after the Alberta Golden Bears delivered them their only loss of the tournament in a 6-4 decision.
“I think we’re feeling pretty good. The guys played a significantly better game in against Waterloo than this afternoon against Alberta so I’d say we’re back on track,” he said.
Paulley said the men weren’t as sharp as they needed to be against the potent Alberta team. Currently, the Golden Bears are in the top in shooting percentage and they went through the highest echelon of competition with an undefeated record, including going through the Canada West University Athletics Association conference undefeated.
But it was good for the men to get that experience under their belts for Wednesday’s draws — where there’s a possibility that the two could meet again.
“I think if we were going to lose a game it was going to be that game, and now that we’ve gotten that experience under our belt we’ll be much better prepared facing them in the playoffs,” Paulley said.
Paulley said one of the big things about the Golden Bears is their playstyle is similar to the Hawks. A vast portion of the Bears’ shots were hits and peels, and after they took the 2-0 lead in the first end with hammer, it was difficult for the Hawks to manufacture any points against them. It becomes even more difficult when they start playing defence. The Hawks could only manage four points, but they were all scored in single ends.
And that’s the same way to beat the Golden Bears — claim hammer in the first end and manufacture a deuce, and then go from there. The Hawks are unbeaten so far in the tournament when they get the lead.
“If we get the lead, we are very very difficult to beat. It’ll be the same for Alberta, so it’ll be pretty crucial to get the draw for hammer in first end and then trying to manufacture a deuce, and then running with it from there,” Paulley said.
And with the semifinal bracket set, the Hawks are preparing to take on the Victoria Vikes while the Golden Bears are set to take on the Brock Badgers for a chance to play for the gold medal. The Hawks are looking to change the outcome from last year, where they claimed CIS silver in a tight loss to the Golden Bears after ten ends.And now, the Hawks are two wins away from claiming the ultimate prize — a CIS gold medal. Paulley said that it will be a challenge playing the Vikes as they have been getting better all week.
And now, the Hawks are two wins away from claiming the ultimate prize — a CIS gold medal. Paulley said that it will be a challenge playing the Vikes as they have been getting better all week.
“That will be a challenging game and we will have to be at our best in order to get through them,” he said.