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Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2018
Vikings victorious at OFSAA Girls Curling Championships
by Randy Pascal

The Lockerby Composite Vikings curling trio of Sydnie Stinson, Jessica Leonard and Abby Deschene dusted themselves off, in a hurry, and got right back up on that horse.

Less than two weeks after suffering a tough 7-6 loss in their U18 NOCA provincial final, the troika welcomed Elizabeth Huska to the fold, regrouping to represent their school at the 2018 OFSAA Curling Championships in Fort Frances.

No better way to get that sour taste of defeat out of your mouth than to claim gold in the very next bonspiel.

That was exactly what the Lockerby girls accomplished, duplicating the All-Ontario high school crown that was captured by the Marymount Regals four years ago with the rink of Krysta Burns, Monica Graham, Cynthia Furlotte, Kayla Nickson and Kaylyn Collin.

That said, if not for some lights out shooting in the "draw to the button" pre-game formalities, the Vikings might have missed the playoff round completely. The Stinson rink looked quite strong at the outset, reeling off three straight wins to start the bonspiel.

In fact, they made it look awfully easy in disposing of the Cameron Heights Gaels from Kitchener (11-3), the Medway High School Cowboys from London (7-4), and the St Marguerite d'Youville Panthers from Brampton (10-0).

A 6-4 loss at the hands of the North Dundas Devils from Chesterville still had the locals controlling their own fate going into their final game of pool play. A second straight setback, however, 5-4 to the Parry Sound Panthers, would really throw a wrench into things.

"We did not have as strong a round robin record as we did last year," noted Stinson. "Our draw to the button scores saved us. We're pretty thankful for that. It gave us our berth in the playoffs."

From there, it was back to firing on all cylinders. "Once we got into the playoffs, it was just a totally different game." Indeed. The Vikings ousted the Bishop Allen Academy Cardinals (Etobicoke) 7-3 in quarter-final action, and then slipped past the host Fort Frances Muskies 7-5, earning their shot at gold.

Their club competition setback two weeks earlier was becoming but a distant memory. "It was a tough loss," acknowledged Stinson. "We were upset, but we were hungry. I think it fueled us a little bit."

The Lockerby quartet needed very little additional fuel as they were on cruise control in the final, thumping the All Saints Avalanche from Ottawa 9-1. "That was our best game," suggested Stinson. "The sweeping was incredible. We played a really strong, smart game."

With three quarters of the team moving on to pursue post-secondary studies, the Vikings were grateful to close things off on a high. "That's the best way to end the season and our high school careers," Stinson summarized.

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