Ex-Muskie curlers help ‘Wolves nab best finish at OUAs

Jamie Mountain

As former Muskie Hailey Beaudry puts it, “there’s only room to improve.”
Her Lakehead University Thunderwolves’ women’s curling rink–consisting of fellow ex-Muskie Erin Tomalty (lead) of Nestor Falls and Thunder Bay-based Kendra Lemieux (third) and Emily Cooney (second)–earned a hard-fought fourth-place finish at the Ontario University Athletics women’s curling championships held Feb. 15-19 in Sault Ste. Marie.
It was the best-ever finish for the Thunderwolves at an OUA championship.
“It was great to be a part of a team that has made it the furthest in Lakehead University women’s curling at the OUAs,” Beaudry enthused.
“Every time I put on my L.U. jacket, I put a lot of pride in that in itself, so being able to be a part of putting L.U. curling on the map is great.
“It really helped last year with our school hosting the U Sports nationals and our team getting silver medals because that also had not been done previously,” she added.
Lakehead didn’t finish in the top two at last year’s OUA championship (the normal standard to qualify for the nationals), but had an automatic berth in the field as the host team.
They fell 7-4 to the Krysta Burns rink, representing the Laurentian University Voyageurs (Sudbury), in the final of that tournament to wind up with the silver medal.
After going 5-2 in round-robin play at this year’s OUAs, the Thunderwolves beat the Carleton University Ravens (Ottawa) 5-3 in the quarter-finals to set up a semi-final date with the Laurier Golden Hawks.
But it was Laurier that eked out a 4-3 victory to dash the Thunderwolves’ championship aspirations.
“One of our biggest challenges that I think our team faced was not being able to capitalize when we had hammer,” Beaudry conceded.
“However, with that being said, following the games we talked about the misses and by the end of the week, we found we were able to make the necessary adjustments to our performance to improve.
“Another challenge we faced was not being able to capitalize on the opponent’s misses,” she added.
“At this level, like at junior nationals, misses don’t happen very frequently, and we just weren’t able set ourselves up very well from them, leading to close games and some losses.”
Lakehead then dropped a narrow 6-5 decision to Brock University in the bronze-medal game to settle for fourth place.
Beaudry admitted there were some things she would have done differently if she could go back in time to that match.
“I think I may have made a few different calls in the last two ends,” she remarked.
“But I also would have taken another few seconds in the hack before throwing the rocks, just to calm down the nerves I had.
“Like every event we play in, it’s all a learning experience,” Beaudry reasoned. “I think the biggest thing that we can take away is how well our communication was during the OUAs even with it being in such a large facility.”
“We tried very hard to keep the communication up and just always talking about the ice and the rocks.
“We can build from this, as well, by preparing for another OUA tournament next year,” Beaudry added.
“Because we were in the playoffs now once and we plan to be in the playoffs again, so hopefully we can take the pressure and prepare for it better.”
In the meantime, Beaudry next will be competing at the mixed doubles provincials in Sioux Lookout on March 8-11.
“Other than that, it’s going to be practising and finishing league play until mid-April,” she noted.