The Voyageurs women's curling team headed to the OUA Championship in Waterloo, ON over the weekend. After an up and down round robin, the team found their groove when it mattered most, advancing all the way to the gold medal game before coming up just short and being forced to settle for silver.
The women opened their Championship against the Ryerson Rams and found themselves in a tight 3-3 game half way through. The women then scored a big 3 points in the 5th end to give them a cushion as they secured a 7-4 win. Later on day 1, the Voyageurs came up against a methodic Queen's Gaels team that controlled the game from the opening throw, hand the women a 6-2 loss.
Day 2 provided the women a boost of confidence in the form of the Algoma Thunderbirds. After blanking the 1st end, the women scored 4 in the 2nd, singles in the 3rd and 4th and massive 5-spot in the 6th end to secure the 11-2 victory. The team would follow that up with a 6-4 win over McMaster later on day 2, thanks to a score of 3 in the 8th and final end, a win that would look large later in the Championship.
Heading into day 3 with a 3-1 record, the women were looking to maintain their momentum but the day had other ideas. After stealing 3 in the 6th end to go up 5-3 on Western, the Mustangs answered with a deuce and then promptly stole a single in the final end for the 6-5 win. In their second game of the day, the Guelph Gryphons stormed out to a 4-0 lead after the 2nd end and despite putting up 3 of their own in the 3rd, the Voyageurs would drop the game 8-4 and see their record fall to 3-3.
The recipe was simple for day 4; win and you are in. Facing the Brock Badgers, the Voyageurs would open the game with steals of 1, 3, 1 and 2 in the first four ends as they cruised to the 7-4 win and 4-3 record. Thanks to their win over McMaster, that would be enough to see the Voyageurs through to the quarterfinal where they would face the undefeated Toronto Varsity Blues.
After Toronto opened up a 4-1 lead through the first 5 ends, the Voyageurs answered with a deuce in the 6th to pull it to within 1. The Varsity Blues answered with a pair of their own in the 7th, heading to the final end up by 3 with the game seemingly in control. Kira Brunton then did the improbable and, thanks to a double takeout, led the women to a score of 3 in the end and force extras. It was here that the team made sure the comeback wasn't made in vain as they stole a single and secured their spot in the semi-finals.
In the semis against the Brock Badgers, the Voyageurs got into the habit of trading doubles for singles and, despite giving up a steal in the 7th end to see their lead close to just 1, the women would close out the game with a single and a 6-4 victory. The win would see the Voyageurs compete for their second banner in the past 3 years and also assured the women of a spot at the U SPORTS/Curling Canada Championships in Fredericton, NB in March.
The final was a rematch against the Queen's Gaels, who had suffered only one defeat throughout the Championship. This time, it was the Gaels who were trading doubles for singles, heading into the final end with a 6-3 lead. Having seen that exact scenario before, the Voyageurs were unfazed and executed their game plan to perfection. With two rocks partially guarded in the house, Brunton set out to close off any opportunities for the Gaels to reach those stones, setting up what would have been an open-ice hit for 3 and extra ends. Instead, just as Brunton's rock crossed the hog line it picked and ground to a halt. The unfortunate event left the door open for the Gaels to pick out one of the Voyageurs stones, which they did, to claim their first banner since 1994 in a 6-4 win.
Brunton and company will now prepare for the U SPORTS/Curling Canada Championships in Fredericton, NB, which begin on Friday, March 15th.