(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.

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