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Photo Credit: Michael Norton / The Eyeopener

The first three draws of the 2017 Curling Canada/U SPORTS national championship are complete and teams are starting to show their true colours. In a quick seven draw round robin, there is little-to-no room for error if you plan to make it to the playoffs. Here is how the first three draws have stacked up.

Men’s Draw:

It looks like Newfoundland is still riding high off the incredible story of Brad Gushue winning the 2017 Brier. The Memorial University Sea-Hawks have put themselves in the driver’s seat with a 3-0 start and two of those wins came against the two national champions in Laurier and Alberta. Memorial has been dominant since they’ve shown up in Thunder Bay and they’ll hope that their winning ways will continue over the next two days and four draws.

For Laurier, their second draw was a tough 6-3 loss to Memorial, and it seemed to affect them in the first five ends of their second game. Cue Matthew Hall, who played lights out in the final five ends including a great shot for four in the seventh end and a take, through a narrow hole in the ninth for two, winning the contest 9-4 over Dalhousie. The defending national champions will have their work cut out over the next four contests.

Dalhousie, who lost to Memorial in the AUS Championship, has been firing this week as well. Their lone slip up was in that 9-4 loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks, but again were dominating the game in the first five ends. Robert Mayhew and his rink made a statement coming out of the gate as they faced Alberta, a favourite coming into the championship to win. Dalhousie was able to knock them off 6-2 and then a 5-3 win over Regina has the Tigers sitting pretty heading into draw four.

The Regina Cougars came out of the gates sluggish as the had a tightly contested first draw against the now 0-3 Queen’s Gaels which only saw them come away with a 5-4 victory. Mix that in with a 5-3 draw two loss to Dalhousie and you’re looking at a week to forget if you are Regina. However the Cougars turned it around in draw three as they knocked off Lakehead with a dominating 10-4 victory that only lasted eight ends.

While the host Lakehead are sporting a 1-2 record, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t turning some heads this week. The Thunderwolves had tough luck in their opening draw as they faced the Laurier Golden Hawks. The game was tied 6-6 and went into an extra end where the Hawks were able to come away with a 7-6 win. Mix that performance in with an 8-1 victory over the UPEI Panthers and Lakehead looked poised to turn heads. Unfortunately draw three saw the host lose to Regina 10-4, not ideal for the Thunderwolves, but they will look to bounce back in draw four.

The surprise of the championship. If I had been told that Alberta would be 1-2 after three draws this week, I would probably laugh in that persons face. But it is what it is. Alberta has struggled mightily this week. Thomas Scoffin has not been on his game as the skip shot just 61% in the team’s 8-6 loss to Memorial and just 70% in the team’s 7-5 win over Queen’s. Apparently he shot 92% in draw number one, which I have a hard time believing since they lost 6-2 and only recorded two singles the entire game. Sometimes things just don’t go your way, but still lots of time for Alberta and their match with Laurier on Wednesday will be a statement game if they want to make a playoff push.

UPEI hasn’t had the best of luck in their 1-2 start, but let’s focus on the positive. In a contest between the two teams who had yet to win, UPEI and Queen’s, it went to an extra end and there were some great shots made. UPEI picked up an impressive two in the ninth end to go up 6-4 before allowing Queen’s to get their deuce in the tenth and send it to an extra end. The Panthers have conceded both of their losses but will look to make a push on day three in draws four and five.

Queen’s has probably disappointed themselves thus far. The OUA silver medalist has showed signs of good but hasn’t been able to piece it together over an extended period of play. They have lost three games by a combined total of four points. Losing 5-4 to Regina, 7-5 to Alberta, and 7-6 in an extra end to UPEI. Sometimes the curling gods just aren’t on your side, and if Queen’s has any small chance of making the playoffs they’ll need to win out. That is much easier said than done however as they face Memorial, Laurier, Dalhousie, and Lakehead to finish out the championship.

Men’s standings:

ROUND ROBIN Games Wins Losses
1 Memorial (Boland) 4 4 0
2 Dalhousie (Mayhew) 4 2 2
3 Prince Edward Island (Gallant) 4 2 2
4 Wilfrid Laurier University (Hall) 4 2 2
5 University of Alberta (Scoffin) 4 2 2
6 University of Regina (Wills) 4 2 2
7 Lakehead University (Henderson) 4 1 3
8 Queen’s (Forget) 4 1 3

 

Women’s Draw:

Alberta has gotten themselves off to a nice 3-0 record to start the championship. While they haven’t looked completely dominant, they’ve found ways to make their scores indicate that they are. Lots to live up to for Kristen Streifel, Danielle Schmiemann, Kate Goddhelpsen, and Jessica Isles as their predecessor Kelsey Rocque won back-to-back titles and the world university championship in 2017.

Laurentian looked dominant off the top of the championship, but a tough 10-1 loss to Dalhousie in the second draw is still looming over their heads. The Voyagers bounced back in draw three as they knocked off UNB by a score of 9-2. They’ll look to continue that momentum into draw four.

St. Francis Xavier came out of the gates slowly as they lost their first game to Ryerson 8-3. But back-to-back wins on Sunday has the X-Women at 2-1 and sitting tied for second in the standings. They’ll have their work cut out for them as they take on Alberta in draw four.

The host Lakehead have had their moments of strong play so far. An opening draw win, 8-5, over Dalhousie and a 5-4 win over Ryerson have them sitting at 2-1. Their lone slip up was in a 10-5 loss to Regina. They’ll have a tough game in Laurentian in draw number four on Monday.

Dalhousie is 1-2 and conceded both games in which they lost. An 8-5 loss to Lakehead and an 8-4 loss to Alberta isn’t helping the AUS silver medalists. But they were absolutely dominant in draw number two against Laurentian. A 10-1 win in eight ends and the only point they gave up was in the eighth end. They will look to get back in the win column with games against Regina and St. Francis Xavier on Monday.

Everyone is beating everyone and Regina is no exception. The Cougars lost 8-2 to Laurentian and 5-4 to St. Francis Xavier, but also have a 10-5 win over Lakehead under their belts. If they want to make any push for the playoffs they’ll need to win out their games. They have to take on Alberta Monday night in draw five and Dalhousie in draw four.

Ryerson looked poised for a strong championship with their 8-3 win in draw one over St. Francis Xavier but with a 10-4 loss to Alberta and a 5-4 loss to Lakehead on day two in draws two and three, the Rams see themselves at the bottom of the standings. They’ll play the UNB Varsity Reds to kick off Mondays games, UNB has yet to win.

The UNB Varsity Reds are almost out of contention here in 2017. The AUS bronze medalists have been outscored 26-12 in their three matchups and conceded two of their three losses. They will play two OUA schools on Monday, Ryerson in draw four and Lakehead in draw five.

Women’s standings:

ROUND ROBIN Games Wins Losses
1 University of Alberta (Streifel) 4 4 0
2 Laurentian University (Burns) 4 3 1
3 Lakehead University (Beaudry) 4 2 2
4 St. Francis Xavier University (Logan) 4 2 2
5 Dalhousie University (Clarke) 4 2 2
6 University of New Brunswick (Comeau) 4 1 3
7 University of Regina (Jameson) 4 1 3
8 Ryerson University (Macintosh) 4 1 3

Draw four begins Monday at 2:00pm. You can follow along online at www.curling.ca, on Twitter at my account @MadJack54, or watch the webcasts on USPORTS.live

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Formerly the Sports Director at Radio Laurier and Sports Information Assistant for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Athletic Department, Jack was named the Bill Haggstrom Trophy winner given to the Male Contributing Most to Laurier Athletics for his work during the 2016-2017 school year. Jack was also given the Golden Hawk Award of Excellence in Marketing/Communication from the athletic department at Wilfrid Laurier University. Jack also served as a Long Snapper for the Golden Hawks for two seasons, including in 2016 when the team captured the 109th Yates Cup championship.

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