Despite a couple of nail-biters, Team Canada is off to a 5-0 start at the world mixed curling championships in Champéry, Switzerland.
Featuring Stratton siblings Trevor Bonot and Jackie McCormick at skip and third, the rink edged Australia 6-5 in an extra end yesterday morning before dumping The Netherlands 8-1 in six ends last night.
After opening play Saturday with a 9-2 win over Turkey, Canada downed Poland 5-3 in the early draw Sunday.
But the team then had to rally to top England 6-5 on Monday.
Trailing 5-4 through six ends, Canada tied it with one in the seventh before stealing the winning point in the eighth.
“I’d be lying if I said I was pleased with my performance in the England game,” Bonot said late yesterday afternoon via e-mail.
“But I had faith in my draw weight and made a good one on my last shot of that game to make the other skip have a tough shot,” he noted.
Then their game yesterday morning was almost a mirror image as Canada led 5-2 after six ends before Australia stormed back with two in the seventh and a steal of one in the eighth to force the extra end.
“As for Australia, it was a tough one because we had some uncharacteristic misses in eight from Jackie and I,” admitted Bonot, whose rink also includes Megan and Kory Carr of Thunder Bay at lead and second.
“But it allowed us to learn draw weight again and I made the draw for the win in the extra.
“All that being said, our mindset is always confident,” he added.
“We know we can play and each game we play, we get better.”
Bonot said the key to their success so far is they are a true team.
“Meaning we all get along so well and know each other,” he explained. “It’s a big plus.
“Also, we are very go-with-the-flow type of people,” noted Bonot. “So when we are in a tough spot or situation, we just keep moving forward.
“And I think that got us some wins, for sure.”
Canada had a bye today, then will close out round-robin play against Germany in the final draw tomorrow night (Swiss time).
The team had to cope with a last-minute schedule change when another rink dropped out the night before the event started, which gave them an entire day off.
There also has been a longer gap between games than they are used to at other competitions due to the 37-team field playing on just five sheets of ice.
“It is a change,” Bonot conceded. “But having family here and lots of sights to see helps.
“We also try to get to know the other countries and meet as many people as possible,” he added.
“The key is to stay busy for us.”
Canada, coached by Jim Waite, sat atop Group ‘E’ going into play today.
Poland was next at 3-1, followed by Turkey (2-1) and Germany (2-2).
Australia and England were tied at 1-3, with The Netherlands last in the pool at 0-4.
The top three finishers in each pool, plus the fourth-place team with the best Draw-Shot Challenge total, advance to the 16-team, single-knockout playoffs.
The playoffs begin Friday, with the semi-finals and gold- and bronze-medal games set for Saturday.
Canada already has qualified for the playoff round but the team isn’t planning to approach things differently.
“Going into the playoff round, we will keep our strategy the same as we have since we started as a team back in the provincial in Fort Frances–one game at a time!” Bonot stressed.
In the meantime, the team is grateful for everyone who is rooting for them back home.
“We really appreciate all the support that we have been getting through our Facebook page,” enthused Bonot.
“It’s great to be able to stay in touch with everyone!
“And we want to let everyone from Stratton know that the banner they gave us at our send-off is up in the arena and we see it each game,” he added.