Kim Beaudry’s rink worked hard and represented Northern Ontario with class.
The squad, which also featured Barb Roy (third), Wendy Brunetta (second), and Kris Sinclair (lead), narrowly missed out on advancing to the semi-finals at the Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships held March 22-28 in Chilliwack, B.C. as they finished fifth in the Championship Pool with a 6-4 record.
It was a tournament full of learning for a rink that was making its first appearance at the nationals.
“Seeing that this was our first time at the senior nationals our goal was to make the Championship Pool–which we did,” noted Beaudry.
“When we played our style of game, we executed well.
“We caught on to the fact the ice was quicker than when we were at the provincials in Thunder Bay–that was great training for us,” she added.
Beaudry opened Pool ‘A’ play on the afternoon of March 22 with a 4-2 win over host B.C. before losing 6-3 to Alberta the following afternoon.
The squad then was routed 7-2 by Saskatchewan but rebounded with an 8-1 thumping of their own on March 24 against Nunavut.
Then in their evening match against the Northwest Territories, the rink rallied for a 6-5 win.
Trailing 5-4 heading into the eighth end, Beaudry stole two to pull out the victory.
Beaudry then capped round-robin last Monday afternoon (March 25) by downing Quebec 7-4 to finish in second place in their pool with a 4-2 record.
With the win, Beaudry advanced to the Championship Pool.
“Communication, we were curling in a club that opened in November,” Beaudry cited as the biggest challenge at the nationals.
“With the eight sheets being used, it was very loud and hard to communicate weight from the sweepers to the broom holder, myself or Barb, or sweeping to line,” she recalled.
“We adapted and tried to use hand signals. Many of the teams commented on the noise level and how challenging it was to communicate.”
In their first match of the Championship Pool on last Tuesday morning, Manitoba edged Beaudry by a 4-2 final.
Ontario then cruised to a 7-3 victory over them that night.
The Championship Pool consisted of the top four teams in both Pool ‘A’ and ‘B’ crossing over and playing the teams from the opposite one.
The rest of the teams squared off in a seeding pool to determine standings for next year.
Those two losses proved costly as Beaudry, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia all finished the Championship Pool with identical 6-4 records, but Manitoba earned the semi-final berth based on its head-to-head win.
Beaudry did rebound last Wednesday morning with a 4-3 win over Newfoundland and Labrador and a comeback 6-5 victory over Nova Scotia, but it wasn’t enough to earn them a spot in the semis.
Saskatchewan topped Ontario 11-7 to claim gold last Thursday afternoon while Alberta snagged bronze with a 8-3 romp over Manitoba.
“Making the Championship Pool, we reassessed our goals to go out curl well and try to get a playoff spot,” said Beaudry.
“We finished tied for fourth. In this event, the last spot is determined by who beat who head-to-head,” she noted.
“If that is a tie, then they go to the last stone draw totals. Since Manitoba had beat both us and Nova Scotia, they moved on to the playoffs.”
Beaudry said overall her rink’s experience was great and that they tried to enjoy as many events as they could.
Moving forward, she believes her rink can use the whole nationals experience as something to build on and will be ready for should they qualify for it again in the future.
“Knowing what to expect, knowing what we need to work on,” she reasoned.
“For some, it was their first time curling with a microphone and being on TV, [so just] getting comfortable with that.”