The Voyageurs women's curling team opened up the U SPORTS Championships in Fredericton, NB, with mixed results on Thursday. After opening the Championship with a tough 8-3 loss to the Brock Badgers, the quartet of Emma Johnson, Alyssa Denyer, Megan Smith and Kira Brunton bounced back and needed just the minimum 8 ends to down the Regina Cougars 10-4.
In the opening game against the OUA bronze medalist Badgers, it was evident that both teams were struggling to get used to the arena ice at the Willie O'Ree Place. Brock opened with back to back singles but skip Kira Brunton and company bounced back with a pair of singles of their own. After a blank in the fifth end, the teams headed to the break knotted up at 2.
The Voyageurs quickly moved ahead in the sixth end, stealing a single point for a 3-2 advantage. In the seventh end, with the Voyageurs looking to force the Badgers, Brunton's first shot spilled from the rings, allowing the Badgers to grab 2 points and regain the lead. The 8th end shaped up nicely for the Voyageurs and Brunton had chance for 4 with her final stone. Needing to convert a tough, angle runback, Brunton's attempt caught the rock in the house slightly too thin, giving the Badgers a steal of 1. In the ninth end, being forced to draw for one, Brunton's stone came up light, giving another 3 points to the Badgers and the game with an 8-3 final.
In the afternoon draw, against the Canada West runner-up Cougars, the Voyageurs found themselves in an early 2-0 hole after the first end but quickly rebounded with a deuce of their own in the second. From there, the Voyageurs pulled off their best Bonnie and Clyde impersonation, stealing points in each of the next 5 ends. The women stole a pair in the third end, a single in the fourth and 3 in the fifth to head into the break up 8-2.
The team kept up their pace in the second half, stealing singles in the sixth and seventh ends to grow their lead to eight. Regina finally got back on the board in the eighth, scoring a deuce to narrow the gap to 10-4, but the game was well out of hand by that point and the teams shook hands, moving the Voyageurs to 1-1 on the day and for the Championships.
The team is back on the ice for a pair of games Saturday, playing Alberta (2-0) and Mount Allison (1-1) at 8:30 AST and 4:30 AST.