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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018
Local rinks combine for 5-0 mark at U18 nationals
by Randy Pascal

If the Northern Ontario entries at the 2018 Canadian U18 Curling Championships are feeling any pressure about having to defend the titles the green and gold claimed last April, they sure aren't showing it yet.

The Sudbury entries have combined to post a 5-0 record after two days of competition, both teams well positioned out of the gate to earn berths in the playoff round.

Following in the footsteps of the Kira Brunton gold medal winning rink, the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club quartet of Bella Croisier (skip), Jamie Smith (vice), Lauren Rajala (second) and Piper Croisier (lead) are off and running in St Andrews (New Brunswick), boasting a mark of 3-0 with five draws in the books.

The team has used some big ends late in the games to maintain their hold on first place in their pool, halfway through round robin play. Team Croisier opened with a 7-4 win over Emma Jensen of Manitoba, scoring three in the seventh end to break open a 4-4 game.

Leading Isabelle Ladouceur of Nova Scotia 4-3 after five ends early on Tuesday, the Croisier foursome scored three in the sixth, surrendered two in the seventh, but sealed the contest with a hold for one in the final end.

Playing in the very next draw, the locals found themselves dead even after seven ends of play, tied 3-3 with Newfoundland & Labrador (Mackenzie Glynn). Thankfully, last shot advantage belonged to Northern Ontario, and the NOCA champs made the most of it, scoring two for a 5-3 win.

The young Croisier crew can enjoy a much quieter day on Wednesday, off the ice until draw #7 when they face Ryleigh Bakker of Alberta in evening action. Meanwhile, the Curl Sudbury boys team of Jacob Horgan, Max Cull, Nicholas Bissonnette and Shane Robinson are also off to a nice start in their efforts to defend the banner they claimed in 2017.

Team Horgan trailed Owen Purcell of Newfoundland & Labrador 4-2 with six ends completed, but scored twice in the seventh to deadlock the encounter and added a steal of one in the eighth for the 5-4 win in their inaugural match.

It was a much better start than the 7-0 loss to Nova Scotia the locals endured one year ago in game one. The Northern Ontario lads improved to 2-0 on Tuesday, besting Mitchell Schut of Prince Edward Island with yet another comeback.

Facing a deficit of 4-3 after five ends of play, the Horgan squad racked up a key three point end in six, stole one more in the seventh and shook ends midway through eight as Northern Ontario stopped P.E.I. 7-4.

The team now prepares for a battle of unbeaten teams, taking on Jérome Adam of Québec (2-0) in the morning draw on Wednesday.

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