Team Horte sweeps up win to start Games

Team Horte is feeling confident. The Yukon rink grabbed an 11-6 win over Nunavut to start the Arctic Winter Games on Sunday. “It’s definitely a big confidence booster,” said skip Bailey Horte.

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA

Team Horte is feeling confident.

The Yukon rink grabbed an 11-6 win over Nunavut to start the Arctic Winter Games on Sunday.

“It’s definitely a big confidence booster,” said skip Bailey Horte. “We managed to come out strong in the end and win it. It’s always good to start off with a win.”

The rink, which includes third Kelsey Meger, second Kelly Mahoney and lead/vice-skip Alyssa Meger, twice fell behind on the scoreboard before scoring three in the fourth, three in the sixth and three in the eighth end to force the handshake out of Nunavut.

“They’re looking really good,” said Yukon coach Rhonda Horte. “They gained a lot of confidence from this morning. They were really intense during that game and they really liked that intensity.”

Team Horte includes three curlers from Yukon’s silver-winning rink at the 2012 Games in Whitehorse. Bailey, Kelsey and Mahoney competed in 2012 with Mahoney as skip.

“We’ve always been a team that is focused on development, so we’ve switched around positions,” said Rhonda. “The three of them have curled together for seven years now and we’ve changed around positions so they could all try everything out.”

The Horte rink will play Alaska on Monday morning, N.W.T. Tuesday morning and Alberta North Tuesday afternoon to finish the round-robin. Playoffs begin Wednesday.

Yukon’s male rink, Team Wallingham, had a bye on Sunday. They will hit the ice for the their first game on Monday against Alaska and will play N.W.T. in the afternoon.

The 2014 Games features a new format this year in which a mixed doubles tournament will be held following the main event. In the doubles tournament, which is based on the what’s been done at the Canadian Junior

Curling Championships the last two years, female curlers will be paired up with male curlers from different Games jurisdictions.

“We’ve improved a lot since the last Arctics and I feel really good about this one,” added Bailey. “We’re playing really well as a team and I’m excited.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com