Nielson opens playdowns with first win

Stratton skip Kelly Nielson earned her first-ever district win at the junior ladies’ playdowns in Balmertown yesterday after she edging Erin O’Neill (Nipigon) 9-7 in the opening draw.
But after losing 10-4 to Ashley Miharija (Fort William) in the second draw last night and then to Renee Roussin (Dryden) 9-5 late this morning, Nielson sat at 1-2 heading into the fourth draw this afternoon.
Nielson, whose rink includes third Amber Sheloff, second Amy Nielson, and lead Giselle Bonot, allowed O’Neill to tie the game in the fourth end after getting an early 4-1 lead.
But they regrouped by scoring one in the fifth and four more in the ninth end for win.
Beating one of the more experienced teams at the playdowns made their strong start even more satisfying, Nielson said this morning from the Campbell Recreation Centre before heading on the ice for the third draw.
“It’s nice to get that first win,” she said after going winless at these playdowns last year. “To beat an older team, one that we had troubles against last year, it’s definitely a boost for us.”
Nielson ran into problems against Miharija by falling behind early.
“We just didn’t cover very well throughout that game,” said Nielson, a student at Fort Frances High School.
Two Thunder Bay-based rinks, defending district champ Krista Scharf (Fort William) and Ashley Kallos (Port Arthur), lead the pack, which run until tomorrow.
The top two teams in the round-robin will move on to the provincial playdowns Dec. 13-16 in North Bay.
< *c>Senior action
Meanwhile, at the senior men’s district playdowns in Nipigon, Bryan Bonot’s Stratton rink improved to 2-1 yesterday, good for sole possession of third place, after beating Lauchie Meagher (Manitouwadge) 7-2 and Frank Stocco (Longlac) 10-8.
Gary Ball (Thunder Bay) and Don Brunton (Sioux Lookout) were tied for first at 3-0 heading into action today, and are the biggest threats to take Bonot’s district title—one he’s claimed the last two years.
Nevin Bonot’s rink finds itself in a four-way tie for fourth with a 1-2 record after play yesterday. They beat Stocco 10-7 but lost to Ball 11-5.
The Bonots went head-to-head in the fourth draw this afternoon (results weren’t available as by press time).
Tonight, Nevin Bonot was to play Brunton while Bryan Bonot will face Larry Waytowich (Fort William).
Round-robin action wraps up tomorrow, with the top team advancing to the provincials Jan. 10-12 in North Bay.