Girls curling team faces extremes

It was a day of extremes for the Yukon girls’ curling team yesterday. In the morning, skip Sarah Koltun’s young rink was on the money,…

It was a day of extremes for the Yukon girls’ curling team yesterday.

In the morning, skip Sarah Koltun’s young rink was on the money, cruising to an 11-1 win over a green Nunavut team.

“We knew it was possible to win, and we just tried our best,” said second Linea Eby after the game.

Beating Nunavut was one of Yukon’s key goals for the Canada Winter Games.

Now, if Nunavut doesn’t win any games, Yukon could be in a playoff position on Friday, another team goal, said coach Gordon Moffatt.

The decisive win evened up Yukon’s record to 1-1 after the rink lost a disappointing opener to Alberta on Monday.

A curling powerhouse, Alberta struggled early and Yukon took the lead. After the third end the territory was up 4-0.

“We started off pretty well, then fell asleep and lost focus,” said Moffatt.

Yukon third Chelsea Duncan said Alberta just needed some time to find its groove.

“They were having trouble with the ice to begin with, and we had it figured out,” she said.

Once Alberta warmed up, the Yukon squad seemed to run out of energy, slumping to an 11-5 final.

“We had a long meeting last night, to figure out what was going on, what we can do better,” said Moffatt.

“One of our things is the little huddle we had between ends, we didn’t do that yesterday, and this game we did — to talk about our end plan, for every end. To talk about good shots, high fives, team stuff that we weren’t doing yesterday.”

“We try to inspire and cheer each other on, keeping us pumped up and ready,” said Yukon lead Tessa Vibe.

Any sign of a winning streak disappeared in Tuesday afternoon’s game against Nova Scotia, when the bluenosers opened up an 8-0 lead after three ends.

Team Yukon looked flustered as several shots came up short or blew right through the house.

“We had a good strategy going in, but in the end we started missing really important shots,” said Koltun after the game, which Yukon called after six ends with a 10-1 score.

“We tried to keep it clean and open, and see what they did — a couple times there ended up being more rocks in play than we wanted,” added Koltun.

Despite the loss, the Yukon girls were in high spirits after their afternoon match, which was filmed for television, a first for the team.

“I’m actually feeling pretty excited, because I’m going to be on television,” said Vibe. At one point, Linea Eby could be seen scurrying under the camera, avoiding the lens on her way down the ice.

“You have to watch what you say,” laughed Duncan, who was miked along with Koltun for the broadcast.

Wednesday, the Yukon faces Quebec and British Columbia.

“Every game is a tough game, in a way,” said Duncan.

The only other team Yukon might conceivably beat is NWT, but it won’t meet that team unless the numbers work out, putting it in a pool-crossover match.

“All the rest of the teams here are pretty spectacular teams,” said Moffatt. “So we’re out to learn from it, gain from experience and gain a little bit more desire for the game.”

Girls’ curling continues daily until Friday, with the gold medal match scheduled for 7 p.m.

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