OSHAWA, Ont. – The Laurentian Voyageurs have won the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women's curling championship for the first time in school history.
Heading into the championship, hosted by UOIT at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club, Laurentian's lone banner in curling was won in 1989 by the men's team.
On the men's side, it was the first time since 1982-85 (Waterloo) that one school has won three straight titles as the Laurier Golden Hawks were golden once again – defeating the Queen's Gaels 5-3 in the championship game. They also became only the third program to three-peat. Besides Waterloo it was also done by the Windsor Lancers from 1976-79.
"It feels great to know that we were able to sort of live up to that legacy – to fill those shoes that were left behind last year," said Golden Hawk skip Matt Hall (Kitchener, Ont.). It's a great feeling and great thing to do for Laurier."
Hall, who was named a second-team all-star helped his rink get on the board quickly with two in the first end. Queen's blanked the next three ends before evening things up 2-2 in the fifth end.
Laurier took advantage of hammer in the sixth to lead 4-2. The two teams traded single points, with Hall eventually making his final shot of the game – an open draw – to clinch his first OUA championship. After the shot, he and his team of Jordie Lyon-Hatcher (Ottawa, Ont.), Ken Malcomson (Toronto, Ont.), Russel Cuddie (London, Ont.) and Jeff Wanless (Aurora, Ont.) were calm in their celebration with bronze medal games still happening on the ice around them.
"It felt great – I wanted to start jumping but everyone else seemed kind of calm so I sort of restrained myself," he said. "But it feels great and I think we are all just really tired. It's been such a long week and we put a lot into this week in order to come out with the result we had."
Just as excited about their victory, the rink skipped by Krysta Burns (Sudbury, Ont.) finished third in Pool A with a round-robin record of 5-2 and after defeating Queen's in their quarter-final faced the Toronto Varsity Blues in their semifinal. Of the four teams in the semifinals only Toronto had won a championship before – only one – in 2001.
They made easy work of the Varsity Blues as they booked their ticket to the final with an 8-1 victory.
In the final they also opened with a deuce, similar to the Golden Hawk men on the sheet beside them, against the Ryerson Rams.
Ryerson came back to tie it 2-2 in the third end. Before the break Burns made her final shot of the fourth to give the Voyageurs a 5-2 lead.
Both teams traded single points over the next three ends before Laurentian ran the Rams out of rocks in the eighth end.
"It means a lot for sure," said Burns. "We even heard that it was our (school's) first OUA banner since 2003 so it is obviously a big deal for us and a big deal for Laurentian."
Joining Burns on the championship roster were Megan Smith (Sudbury, Ont.), Sara Guy (Wahnapitae, Ont.) and Laura Masters (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.).
All finalists will now represent the OUA at the upcoming U SPORTS championship being hosted March 19-22 by Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Knowing that going into the final, Burns said she didn't have too many nerves.
"We felt pretty in control for the whole game knowing that both teams would be going to CIS (U SPORTS)," she said. "That kind of took the pressure off a little bit so we were able to keep calm and throw well."
"(When we won) we were just kind of calm and living it out. We're just going to take this momentum with us to CIS (U SPORTS)."
In the women's bronze medal game the Toronto Varsity Blues edged the Carleton Ravens 7-6, while the Brock Badgers defeated the Toronto Varsity Blues 4-3.
2017 OUA MEN'S ALL-STARS
Skip – Wesley Forget • Queen's Gaels
Vice – Jordie Lyon-Hatcher • Laurier Golden Hawks
Second – Decebal Michaud • Queen's Gaels
Lead – Alexander Cormier • Queen's Gaels
Skip – Eric Bradey • Brock Badgers & Matthew Hall • Laurier Golden Hawks
Vice – Alex Champ • Ryerson Rams
Second – Travis Ackroyd • Toronto Varsity Blues
Lead – Steven Dawson • Western Mustangs
COACH OF THE YEAR
John Rudd • Toronto Varsity Blues
2017 OUA WOMEN'S ALL-STARS
Skip – Terri Weeks • Brock Badgers
Vice – Karen Sagle • Carleton Ravens
Second – Sara Guy • Laurentian Voyageurs
Lead – Joanna Francolini • Brock Badgers
Skip – Jestyn Murphy • Guelph Gryphons
Vice – Nicole Titkai • Ryerson Rams
Second – Marcia Richardson • Brock Badgers
Lead – Jacinda Schieck • Guelph Gryphons
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dick Henderson • Lakehead Thunderwolves