Sunday, March 27, 2011

Manitoba take 2011 Canadian title 8-7 over Alberta

Team Manitoba 2011 National Champions
Chris Sobkowicz, Dennis Thiessen, Linda Lecuyer, George Horning, Dan Kalinsky

Coach Rob Lamb

There had to be a first time national champion after this afternoon's final of the 2011 Canadian National Championships in Edmonton, as home province favourites Alberta hoped to improve on the 2009 silver medal against Manitoba, winners of the bronze for the past three years.

In a very closely fought contest, Chris Sobkowicz led his team to an 8-7 win over the team led by Bruno Yizek, the man who replaced him on Team Canada.

Alberta entered the final with the confidence of knowing they had handled Manitoba 6-4 in the round robin. They took a single with hammer in the 1st but gave up 2 in the 2nd when Manitoba executed a couple of good draws, tapping an Alberta stone back for the second point. Alberta capitalised on a Manitoba miss, Sobkowicz's attempted draw crashing on front stones, leaving Yizek an open draw for a third point to go ahead 4-2 in the third.

A series of freezes by both skips gives Manitoba a single to pull within 1 at the break, and in the 5th Alberta's attempt to draw through a pile of rocks pushed a second Manitoba stone into scoring position allowing a steal of 2.

In the 6th Bruno's last rock was just heavy enough to count for a second point to regain the lead 6-5.

While it is generally accepted that hits are easier to execute in wheelchair curling than draws, games are won on a skip's draw weight more often than their hits. It was Chris' draw to the four foot for a third and decisive point in the 7th end that decided the final.

In the 8th Alberta, down two, had shot rock and a chance to win when Chris' first rock flashed allowing Alberta an open hit to lay 3. But Chris' last shot was perfect, a hit and roll to sit second shot buried. An inch less and he flashes, an inch thicker and the Manitoba stone rolls over the top of the Alberta 2nd shot stone and Bruno would have had an open draw for 3 and the win.

With his final stone Bruno came up inches short, attempting a tap-back on the buried Manitoba stone to score three and get the win.

“It was a draw for a tie and, if I was just a hair heavy, then a tap would maybe have been enough for us to get three,” Yizek told the Edmonton Journal.

Alberta could only score one, losing 8-7 to a Manitoba team who had to beat all three teams in the Page playoffs to win their first national title.

1     Manitoba              10 - 2
2     Alberta                9 - 2 
3     Nova Scotia            8 - 3    
4     BC                     6 - 4    
5     Northern Ontario       4 - 5    
6     Host Team - Alberta    4 - 5    
7     Saskatchewan           3 - 6   
8     Quebec                 3 - 6   
9     Ontario                2 - 7    
10    Newfoundland-Labrador  0 - 9

photo Lisa Samchuk

There are full lines scores and tables in our 2011 Worlds section of our website.


R&K said...

Congratulations Chris and the entire Manitoba team from your Manitoba "Warmup Team"

Rick and Kathy

Unknown said...

Congratulations to all the winners especially Team Manitoba in winning Gold.
Also a huge congratulations to the Jasper Place Curling Club and everyone involved in putting on a first class event for all of us that were part of this fabulous week

Bruce Cameron said...

Congratulations to the winners and well done to all the participants. Followed as best I could on the internet but nothing like the live shot by shot feature game blog that u have provided in the past Eric. For me the surprise of the event was how well Nova Scotia played and the disappointment was how poorly Quebec played. There is always next year for all the wheelchair curlers in it is onward and upward.....

T. Sanders said...

Yes, congratulations to Manitoba. They literally walked away with the gold.

Laughie Rutt, third Team Nova Scotia said...

On behalf of Team Nova Scotia I want to thank the Host Committee of Jasper Place Curling Club for a wonderful week. The transportation group especially for their work and the bus drivers Lucy and Ambrose that made it such a pleaseure. Thanks to you Eric for your coverage as the folks back here appreciated it and for the comments on Nova Scotia. I want to also thank the other teams and the many fans at Jasper Place that made it our home club. I would also encourage you to do an article comparing your predictions on the modium and the poll results as well as the actual results to see how it went. I think I was the lone vote for Nova Scotia as I did not want us to be there completely not viewed in a positive light. Regards to all!

. said...

Shame on me, Laughie, for underestimating the prospects for Nova Scotia, though in fairness I was kinder to you than I was to Manitoba.

This year's results, as indeed the results from the Worlds, confirm once gsin the foolishness of predictions - but then the world would be a duller place without some occasional foolishness.

Well done to Nova Scotia, land of my birth. I apologise for doubting you.