In a week that was filled with up and downs, big scores and some great curling, what mattered at the end was who would be standing on the top of the podium at the end of it. The Voyageurs Women's Curling team gave themselves a fantastic opportunity to be the one team standing at the end and they wouldn't waste it, edging Lakehead 7-4 to claim the U SPORTS banner.
In their semi-final game against Dalhousie, the Voyageurs entered the game with a clear mindset to keep things open limit the opportunities for the opposition to take a big end. After blanking the first end, the Voyageurs were able to steal singles in the second, third and fourth ends before forcing the Tigers to take a single in the fifth as they entered the break leading 3-1.
Coming out of the break with hammer, the Krysta Burns was heavy on her draw for three as the Voyageurs had to settle for a pair. Dalhousie came back with a deuce of their own in the seventh end and then forced the Burns rink to a single in the eighth end, putting them up 6-3 with two ends to play. After setting up the ninth end beautifully, Dalhousie was forced to draw for a single but when Kristin Clarke's shot slid through the house, it was a steal of two for the Voyageurs and handshakes, with the final score reading 8-3 in favour of the Blue and Gold.
After Lakehead upset top-ranked Alberta in the other semi-final, it would be an all-Northern Ontario affair in the U SPORTS title game. Lakehead looked to carry their momentum from the upset into the final and, in the first end, were sitting 4, forcing Burns to throw a wonderful in-off to grab the single. From there, the Voyageurs made a conscious effort to keep the ice clean and it paid off as they forced the Thunderwolves to draw for a single.
In the third end, Burns had an open draw for two but sent it through the rings, having to settle for a single point and a 2-1 lead. After a blank in the fourth end, the Voyageurs went on the attack in the fifth, filling the house with yellow stones. Lakehead had a lone blue stone grabbing the button but with no safe way to score multiple points, they threw their final rock away and settled for the single, heading into the fifth end break all knotted up at 2.
Coming out of the break with hammer, the Voyageurs were patient, letting the end develop and it paid off in a big way. When Lakehead skip, Hailey Beaudry, missed her attempted double, Burns was left with a draw to the rings for three and she made no mistake this time, putting the Voyageurs up 5-2.
Not to be deterred, the Thunderwolves played a great seventh end and were able to get a pair, tightening things up at 5-4. After the teams blanked the eighth end, Beaudry jammed the double with her final rock in the ninth, allowing Burns another free draw, this time for two. That left the Voyageurs up 7-4 coming home without hammer.
The win gives the Women's Curling program their first ever national title and the first U SPORTS Championship for a Laurentian team since the 1990-91, when the Women's Basketball team won the second of their back-to-back titles.