The Rainy River Owls’ girls’ and boys’ curling rinks will be flying high all the way to the NWOSSAA championships.
Both squads snagged gold at the NorWOSSA championships held Sunday and Monday at the Fort Frances Curling Club and now advance to NWOSSAA, which is slated for March 3-4 in Thunder Bay.
“It was exciting,” Owls’ coach Corey Smith said of the rinks claiming gold.
“Our boys have curled together for three years now and have never made it on from the NorWOSSA level, so they were pretty excited.
“I think it’s been over 10 years since our boys have qualified for NWOSSAA,” he added. “So those boys were definitely excited and put in a lot of hard work this season.”
The boys’ squad, comprised of William Low, Hayden Haw, Morgan Desserre, Evan Govier, and Jesse Hasiuk, compiled a 3-1 record before needing to defeat the Red Lake Rams in a tie-breaker Monday evening to take the gold.
Rainy River opened with a win over the Whitefish Bay Winterhawks on Sunday afternoon before being beaten by the Rams that afternoon.
But the squad rebounded with a win over the Atikokan Voyageurs on Monday morning before dumping the Muskies that afternoon.
Since the Owls and Rams both had a 3-1 record, a tie-breaker was needed.
As for the Owls’ girls’ squad, comprised of Micaela Jolicoeur, Emma Low, Aynsley Williams, Mackenzie Jolicoeur, and Kirsten Armstrong, it went 4-0 over the two-day event to snag the gold medal.
Rainy River opened play Sunday afternoon with a win over the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) before also dumping the Rams that evening.
The squad then defeated the Sioux Lookout Warriors on Monday morning before wrapping up play with a win over the Muskies that afternoon.
“For the boys, I think it was tough to rebound after a big loss on the first day,” Smith noted. “They lost to Red Lake and I think it was 9-0 after six ends.
“And then to have to come back and play them in a tie-breaker for the victory was tough to bounce back mentally and they did a great job of that.
“For the girls, they’ve always had that rivalry with Fort Frances and that was a back-and-forth game,” he recalled.
“To score four in the seventh [end] like that was pretty awesome,” he enthused.
In terms of preparing for next month’s NWOSSAA championships, Smith said both rinks would be working on getting better chemistry and staying focused.
“I think just continuing to develop some team chemistry,” he noted. “Our girls–it’s the first year for those girls curling together.
“So they’ll continue to work on that chemistry.
“For the boys, I think just staying focused and taking that extra bit of time to think about their shot before they make it,” he added.
As for the Muskie girls’ rink, they compiled a 3-1 record at NorWOSSA to settle for silver.
The squad, comprised of Ashley Payne, Andrea Schram, Jillian Cousineau, Katrina Slomke, and Daffni Chabot, opened play Sunday afternoon with a win over the Warriors before also dumping the Saints that evening.
Then after a win over the Rams on Monday morning, they ended play with the loss to the Owls.
“The girls curled great, our goal was to qualify for NWOSSAA,” said Muskie coach Kim Beaudry.
“[The] challenges were keeping focused,” she noted. “It’s always harder when you are at home.
“We will continue to work as we have been,” Beaudry added. “We will have a meeting and talk about what they feel they need to do better and what they want to work on [prior to NWOSSAA].”
The Muskie boys compiled a 2-2 record at NorWOSSA and failed to advance to NWOSSAA.
The rink, comprised of Owen Riches, Jordon Bazylewski, Brett Schram, Kian McEvoy, and Ben Olson, opened play Sunday afternoon with a win over the Voyageurs but then were defeated by the Rams that evening.
Then after rebounding with a win over the Winterhawks, the Muskies ended play with a loss to the Owls.
And in the Mixed division, the Muskies compiled a 3-1 record to snag the silver medal.
The squad, comprised of Jesse Thompson, Brayden Sabbe, Lauren Penney, and Anna Peters, opened play Sunday afternoon with a win over the Saints.
The Muskies then lost to the Voyageurs on Monday morning before rebounding with wins over the Kenora Broncos and Rams.
Atikokan won gold with a perfect 4-0 record.
This is the end of the road for the mixed teams as there is no NWOSSAA or OFSAA for that division.