THOMSON, NEUFELD SHARE ACCESS CREDIT UNION SUPERLEAGUE LEAD

With one round-robin game left to play, Randy Neufeld (La Salle) and Ryan Thomson (Morden) share first place in the six-team Access Credit Union Super League in south-central Manitoba. The two teams have both won three games out of their first four.

The final round is tentatively scheduled to be played December 15th in Portage, if ice is available, as a tune-up for Regional playoffs. When that final round-robin game is played, the standings board to start looks like this:
*3W-1L: Ryan Thomson (Morden)
*3W-1L: Randy Neufeld (La Salle)
2W-2L: Keaton Bachalo (Portage)
1W-2L: David Hamblin (Morris)
1W-2L: Ryan Hyde (Portage)
1W-3L: Dean North (Carman)

Pending the outcome of the final round-robin games, Thomson is ranked above Neufeld based on a 6-5 victory two weeks ago in Carman.

The championship round, to be scheduled in January, will be played in Morris with the top two teams in the round-robin earning byes to the semi-finals. League prize money payout will be a total of $6,800 with the champion earning $2,500 and the finalist receiving $1,500. Third place pays $1,000 with $800-$600-$400 for 4th, 5th, and 6th final placing respectively. That’s on top of $200 per round-robin win – making the league’s total prize pool $9,800.

In addition, the league has continued a long-standing policy of renting the ice they play on, at $100 per sheet – a total contribution of $3,600 to the clubs. The league has continued a tradition of playing at least one game in each team’s home club.

League organizers acknowledge the significant sponsorship contribution of Access Credit Union in enabling the league to continue operating. While the league had larger numbers in earlier years, it continues to provide important early season competition for the teams as well as the noted financial support of the participating clubs.

ARBUCKLE-MACDONELL WIN CANADA GAMES TRIALS

(CurlManitoba Release) Mackenzie Arbuckle and Aaron Macdonell (St. Vital) have gone undefeated through CurlManitoba’s Canada Games Mixed Doubles Trials at Heather Curling Club and will represent Manitoba in Mixed Doubles Curling at the 2023 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island in February.

The Sunday evening gold medal game was the team’s seventh consecutive victory.

In that gold medal final, Arbuckle-Macdonell (Coach Tim Arbuckle) needed an extra end to defeat Katy Lukowich and Thomas McGillivray (Granite). The Granite team had trailed 5-1 at the break but a dramatic four-ender changed the momentum and Lukowich-McGillivray led 6-5 after six ends. A three for the St. Vital duo followed by a Lukowich clutch draw for two coming home set up the extra end.

Except for the two high-scoring power-play ends (#6 & #7), the entire game including the extra end was played with multiple rockso in the four-foot circle. On that extra end, an Arbuckle-Macdonell guard left nothing but a last stone runback attempt by Lukowich to try to contact their own stone in the top four foot and push it in but the shot over-curled. Arbuckle did not have to throw her final stone of the end in the 10-8 victory.

To reach the gold medal game, Arbucke-Macdonell were not seriously challenged in their 6-end semi-final game with Lauren Evason and Rylan Campbell (East St. Paul). The win meant they reached the final undefeated.

In their semi-final win, Lukowich-McGillivray (Coach Mark Lukowich) held off a comeback by Mikaylah Lyburn and Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge). Lukowich-McGillivray dominated the game early and led by three after three ends. Lyburn-McDonald scored a three to be tied at the break and led 6-4 after scoring another three on the 6th end. Lukowich-McGillivray tied the game with two on the seventh end and controlled the centre line through the final end. With a counter in the four foot, a last stone guard by Lukowich wasn’t perfect but proved good enough as Lyburn-McDonald missed on a last stone attempt to remove the partially buried counter.

In the bronze medal game, Lyburn-McDonald (Coach William Lyburn) were up six on Evason and Rylan Campbell (Coach Cal Edie) after two ends thanks to a steal of four on the second end.

Lauren Rajala & Ryan Ostrowsky and Samantha Eagles & Logan Strand (both of Granite) were the other two playoff qualifiers, ousted in the Sunday morning quarter-finals.

Arbucke-Macdonell will join the two U18 teams to make up the Manitoba curling portion of Manitoba’s Canada Winter Games team in Summerside, Prince Edward Island on February.

Dayna Wahl and her Altona team (Piper Stoesz, Anna Marie Ginters, Gillian Hildebrand and Coach Keith Stoesz) and Virden’s Jace Foreman team (Elias Huminicki, Jack Steski, Rylan Graham, and Coach Graham Freeman) won the U18 Women’s and Men’s Canada Games Trials earlier this season.

DISAPPOINTMENT FOR MANITOBA TEAMS IN EDMONTON

Manitoba’s teams at the Everest Club Championships in Edmonton will come home empty handed. Both Jack Hykaway’s men’s team and Lisa Birchard’s women’s team advanced to the playoff round as the top team in their preliminary round pools but both lost knock-out games late Friday to be eliminated.

Team Hykaway ran off 7 straight wins but lost back-to-back Friday, first losing 9-6 to Northern Ontario and then11-2 to Alberta. Team Birchard lost their opening playoff game, rebounded to win their second but lost the elimination game 5-3 to Quebec.

Semi-finals go at 11AM (Mtn) with the medal games at 4PM.

(Friday 5:30PM) MANITOBA TEAMS POST PLAYOFF WINS EDMONTON CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS Manitoba’s Jack Hykaway team went though the preliminary round with a perfect 6W-0L record and have posted their first win in the modified double knockout playoff round. The Pembina team defeated BC’s Ron Schmidt 6-5 in an extra end in their first playoff game. Next up (at 6PM Mtn) is a re-match with Northern Ontario’s Ben Mikkelsen, who Manitoba has already beaten in the round robin.

The Mikkelsen team includes second Mark Blanchard, who won Manitoba in 2016 with Andrew Wickman.

Lis Birchard and her Women’s team advanced to the playoffs after finishing first in their pool with a 4W-1L record. They were ambushed in their first playoff game, losing 9-1 to Ontario’s Chrissy Cadorin team. However, the Pembina women bounced back in their second playoff game, defeating Kimberley Dennis and her BC champions. Now in a must-win situation, Team Birchard has a re-match on the late draw Friday against Team Ontario, who lost their second game to drop to the playoffs “B” Side.

(Wednesday: Nov 23 6PM) MANITOBA TEAMS UNBEATEN IN EDMONTON CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS Manitoba’s teams at the Everest Club Championships in Edmonton are off to a great start – both the Lisa Birchard and Zach Wasylik teams have posted three wins and sit with perfect 3W-0L records at start of play Wednesday.

The men are playing in a pool of seven so have 3 games to go in preliminary round play while the women are in a pool of six so they have two games remaining in preliminary round play. Team Birchard wraps up its preliminary round on the Thursday 1:30pm draw while Team Wasylik finishes on the 8:30pm draw tomorrow. (Photos: Curling Canada-Jake Walker)

After the round robin, the top three teams in each pool will advance to a modified double-knockout playoffs, which begin Friday, Nov. 25, and conclude with the gold- and bronze-medal games on Saturday, Nov. 26.

PLAYOFFS SET IN CANADA GAMES MIXED DOUBLES TRIALS; ARBUCKLE-MACDONELL #1 SEED

The playoffs are set in CurlManitoba’s Canada Games Mixed Doubles Trials at the Heather Curling Club. As the only undefeated (4W-0L) team in round robin play, the St. Vital duo of Mackenzie Arbuckle and Aaron Macdonell have been seeded #1 in the playoff round and have earned a bye to the semifinals.

Lauren Rajala & Ryan Ostrowsky (Granite) finished second in their pool, behind Arbuckle-Macdonell, with a 3W-1L record.

Three other teams, two pools, Mikaylah Lyburn – Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge), Samantha Eagles – Logan Strand (Granite) and Katie Lukowich – Thomas McGillivary (Granite), also all had 3W-1L records. Based on their pre-game last stone draws, Lyburn – McDonald were made #2 seed and also earn a bye to the semi-final.

Four teams finished with 2W-2L records but only one could advance to the six team playoff round, again based on their pre-game last stone draws. The nod went to Lauren Evason – Rylan Campbell (East St. Paul).

The quarterfinal games at 9AM Sunday will feature Eagles – Strand VS Lukowich – McGillivary AND Rajala -Ostrowsky (Granite) VS Evason – Campbell (East St. Paul).

The winners advance to the semifinals at 12:30PM with medal games scheduled for 4PM.

(CurlManitoba Release) CANADA GAMES MIXED DOUBLES TRIALS THIS WEEKEND Thirty of Manitoba’s most accomplished U20 curlers will compete in CurlManitoba’s Canada Games Trials this weekend at the Heather Curling Club.

The 2-person teams competing at Heather will play in three pools of five. Two teams in each pool will advance to a straight knockout playoff with the top two teams earning a bye to the semi-finals.

While very few of the team combinations have competed often in Mixed Doubles competition, many of the individuals playing this weekend have had the opportunity to play Mixed Doubles Tour and other events in the past two years.

The field features several players with proven track records and national competition experience with their four-person teams. These include:

** Zoey Terrick and Cassidy Dundas, who were teammates on the 2022 Manitoba U18 Women’s Champion team. Terrick will partner with Tanner Graham on a Heather team. Dundas will partner with her brother Hunter Dundas, playing out of Neepawa.

** Jordon McDonald and Cameron Olafson, who were teammates on the 2022 Manitoba U18 Men’s Champion team. McDonald also won the 2019 and 2022 U18 Championship and the 2022 U21 Men’s Championship. McDonald will partner with Mikaylah Lyburn on a Deer Lodge team.

** Luke Robins, who was a member of Ryan Ostrowsky’s Manitoba #2 team at the 2022 U18 national championship. He will partner with Rylie Buchalter on a West St. Paul team.

** Katy Lukowich, who skippd Northern Ontario to an overall 7-3 record at the 2022 U21 nationals, including a first place round robin record in her pool. She will partner with Thomas McGillivary on a Granite team.

CurlManitoba’s Canada Games Trials at the Heather will feature draws at 2PM and 6PM, Friday; 10AM, 2PM, and 6PM, Saturday and playoffs on Sunday.

For the first time, Mixed Doubles curling has been included in the Canada Games and this weekend event is designed to identify the final members of Manitoba’s curling contingent. Earlier this month,

Team Dayna Wahl (Altona) and Team Jace Freeman (Virden) earned the opportunity to represent Manitoba in the Women’s and Men’s competitions respectively at the Canada Games in Prince Edward Island in February.

SILVER AND BRONZE FOR MANITOBA AT THE 2022 CANADIAN MASTERS

Manitoba’s two teams both earned medals at the 2022 Canadian Masters Championship at Pembina – not the colour they wanted but still a reward for a great week of curling.

The Brandon-Melita team of Murray Warren (Brian Barker, Terry Warren, Reg Warren, Gary Barker)…with Gary Barker pinch-hitting for Reg Warren AND East St. Paul’s Judy Colwell (Wendy Nykoluk, Donna Smiley, Leslie Brown, Debbie Palson) won the Bronze and Silver medals respectively at the Canadian Masters Championships at Pembina Curling Club.

Warren won the Bronze Medal with a 7-4 winner over BC’s Wes Craig (Ron Schmidt, Tony Anslow, Victor Gamble). Warren was in control much of the way after giving up two on the opening end. Warren had a delicate split for a four on the second end but neither rock counted so the game was just tied after two. From there however, the Manitobans controlled play ad led by three coming home.

On the next sheet over, BC’s Penny Shantz defeated Colwell 8-4 in a game closer than the score suggests. It was a three on the first that was the difference. The three and a two matched with four singles to give BC a 5-4 lead after six ends. Facing three, Shantz drew for one, which she won on a measure on the seventh end, to lead by two coming home. Colwell’s last shot attempted double kill failed and gave up a steal of two more.

Shantz and her BC team (Cindy Curtain, Shirley Wong, Janet Suter) won the Gold Medal.

Al Hackner’s Northern Ontario team (Eric Harnden, Frank Morissette, Bruce Munro, Coach Arnold Asham) defeated God Bell’s Saskatchewan champions (Maurel Elrick, Rod Slatnik, Gord Fritzler) to win the men’s Gold Medal.

Masters Sportsmanship Awards to Derick, Jack

Congratulations to the recipient of the 2022 Canadian Masters Championships Sportsmanship awards – as selected by the competitors in the event.

The Men’s Martin Bailey Award, honouring the two time Canadian Masters champion from Manitoba, went to Yukon lead Clarence Jack (originally from Strathclair, MB) while the Curl Regina Women’s Sportsmanship Award went to Quebec skip Catherine Derick.

The awards were presented by John Helston, who had won the Canadian Masters curling with Martin Bailey, and by Heather Helston.

In addition to a ‘keeper’, the award recipients each received one of Asham’s new UltraForce brushes.

COLWELL TEAM TO PLAY FOR GOLD; WARREN TEAM FOR BRONZE

(Saturday, November 19, 5pm) The two Team Manitobas will play for different colour medals Sunday afternoon at Pembina Curling Club. East St. Paul’s Judy Colwell (Wendy Nykoluk, Donna Smiley, Leslie Brown) defeated Nova Scotia Saturday afternoon to advance to the gold medal game while Brandon’s Murray Warren (Brian Barker, Terry Warren, Reg Warren) lost an extra end on a last stone draw to the edge of the button by Saskatchewan skip Gord Bell.

Colwell will play BC’s Penny Shantz team while the men’s gold medal game will have Saskatchewan against Northern Ontario (Al Hackner).

Nova Scotia and the Manitoba men were both the #2 seeds in the semi-finals. The BC Women and Northern Ontario Men were the top seeds.

Colwell’s victory was decisive, winning in six ends while Warren led by two after six ends but gave up a three to trail by one coming home. Warren made a draw facing three to force the extra end.

The key in the Colwell game was the sixth end when a seemingly likely four or five ender for Nova Scotia (throwing yellow) turned into a steal of two by Manitoba for an 8-2 lead. Nova Scotia had no shot to score with the last stone which went unthrown on the seventh as the team conceded.

(Saturday, November 19, 1pm) WARREN’S MANITOBANS FINISH SECOND, ADVANCE TO SEMIFINALS………..Manitoba’s Murray Warren team has finished second in the championship pool and advanced to the semi-finals of the Canadian Masters Championship at Pembina. A 5-4 win over New Brunswick on Saturday morning’s last draw set the team from Brandon (Deloraine/Medora/Melita) up for a semi-final game against Gord Bell and Team Saskatchewan.

In the other semi-final, Wes Craig and Team BC (who eliminated the Mark Franklin host team) will play Northern Ontario’s Al Hackner. Hackner had already advanced but defeated Ontario to finish in first place at 9W-1L and eliminate Ontario.

Warren’s win was another tester as they once again let slip a four point lead to sit tied 4-4 coming home with last rock. The end was going New Brunswick’s way until third Brian Barker made a light weight hit past a centre guard to bounce a frozen stone on the button. The NB stone did not leave the four foot, but was re-positioned. With his first stone a Murray Warren triple kill left Manitoba shot stone and the New Brunswick skip slid deep with his final draw.

On this occasion, Warren may have been relieved not to have to throw his final stone.

In the Women’s division, Manitoba’s Judy Colwell will play Jocelyn Nix (Nova Scotia) and Penny Shantz (BC) will play Onatrio (Jan Carwardine).

The semi finals go at 2pm with the gold and bronze medal games at 10AM Sunday.

COLWELL’S TEAM MANITOBA PLACES THIRD, PLAYS NOVA SCOTIA IN THE SEMIFINAL

Judy Colwell’s Team Manitoba needed an extra end Friday evening but they came away with an 8-7 victory to earn a 7W-2L record and the third place berth in the Saturday 2pm semifinals. Their opponent will be Nova Scotia who won their final game to finish at 8W-1L

The other semifinal will feature BC against Ontario. BC also finished 8W-1L but earned the first place nod thanks to a preliminary round win over Nova Scotia. Ontario finished at 6W-3L, tied with Alberta but advanced to the playoff due to an earlier win over Alberta.

The Manitoba-Ontario game appeared to be in control for Manitoba, up 3 coming home. A pair of Ontario draws behind a corner guard set up a score of three and a tie. Facing two, Manitoba’s last shot on the extra end contacted the shot stone and rolled away but the moving Ontario stone rubbed the second shot stone just enough to move it and leave a Manitoba stone biting the button for the single point and victory.

WARREN BEATS HACKNER, AT 7W-2L STILL NOT ASSURED OF PLAYOFFS

It looked like Murray Warren’s Team Manitoba was cruising to a victory over unbeaten Al Hacker (Northern Ontario) when they hit a speed bump sixth end Friday afternoon. Up four at the time, Warren and his team saw the Hackner foursome build a four ender to tie and then steal two on the seventh to lead by two coming home.

The last end looked like the Hackner win streak would continue until second Terry Warren buried in the 12 foot circle behind a corner guard (picture 1). The peel attempt was flashed and play moved to the centre where Hackner was laying two. A series of draws and taps turned the two red stones into two yellow Warren stones. With his first stone, skip Murray Warren put his stone exactly where he wanted it in the eight foot in front of the tee line.

Hackner had nothing but a double and roll (picture 2) to some kind of protected position but he rolled out and left Warren a draw to the rings for 3 and an 11-10 win.

Despite the loss, Northern Ontario will advance to the playoff round. The win gave Team Manitoba a 7W-2L record but no guarantee yet of being in the playoffs. They will advance with a Saturday morning win over New Brunswick. However, BC, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Mark Franklin’s Manitoba Host team are all at 6W-3L so the three teams to join Hackner in the playoffs will all be determined on Saturday’s final draw.

All four games on the final draw will have a bearing on the final standings.

In the women’s championship, Manitoba’s Judy Colwell team will advance to the playoff round. With a game to play Friday evening, British Columbia and Nova Scotia had 7W-1L records while Manitoba

FRANKLIN TEAM WINS TWO THURSDAY, IN CONTENTION AT MASTERS

A pair of wins Thursday moved Mark Franklin’s Manitoba Host team into the heart of the championship race at the Canadian Masters Men’s Championship at Pembina CC.

Franklin, now 5W-3L, opened the day with a 4-3 extra end win over Murray Warren’s Team Manitoba and then, on the late draw, posted a 7-6 win over Ontario.

The Warren team rebounded with a late 9-3 win over Saskatchewan to improve their record to 6W-2L, tied with British Columbia who gave up a steal of two on the last end to lose 6-5 to still undefeated Al Hackner, Northern Ontario.

In all, six of the eight teams in the championship round are still very much in contention.

MEN STANDINGS AFTER 2 CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS:
8-0 Northern Ontario
6-2 British Columbia
6-2 Manitoba
5-3 Saskatchewan
5-3 Ontario
5-3 Manitoba Host
3-5 New Brunswick
3-5 Nova Scotia

With two games in the championship round yet to play, six of the eight teams can still qualify for the final four semifinals. Northern Ontario and British Columbia must still play two teams who are in the top six. The other four contenders have only one game remaining against a team in the top six.

** Northern Ontario will play Manitoba (6W-2L) and Ontario (5W-3L)
** Manitoba will play Northern Ontario (8W-0L) and New Brunswick (5W-3L)
** British Columbia will play Saskatchewan (5W-3L) and Manitoba Host team (5W-3L)
** Manitoba Host team will play Nova Scotia (3W-5L) and British Columbia (6W-2L)
** Saskatchewan will play British Columbia (6W-2L) and Nova Scotia (3W-5L)
** Ontario will play New Brunswick (5W-3L) and Northern Ontario (8W-0L)