By Tom Patrick
Forced to a third and deciding match, Team Horte defeated last year’s top Yukon women’s rink, Team Grant, 8-2 Sunday at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
The win gives the Horte team the Yukon’s top seed (“Yukon One”) as the two teams take on the Northwest Territories in the 2009 Scotties YT/NWT Championship held January 29 to February 1 in Whitehorse.
“We just put it together early today—communication, reading the ice and making shots,” said Team Horte’s second, Jaime Hewitt. “We went up early in the game and just stuck with our strategy to keep going and, in the end, the pressure was off. Once we got our three points we felt more confident and in control of the game.”
Team Horte lost the first encounter 9-8 Saturday morning, but bounced back to tie the series in the afternoon, winning 8-5. The Horte team got three points in the 9th end—with two already in the house it drew in with a third rock to end the second match.
“That just put us over—we hadn’t won it by then, but it was a lot easier because there was less pressure,” said Hewitt. “Today we just came out being aggressive from the beginning.”
“Some days you just have an off game,” said Team Grant’s lead, Doris Bouvier. “We just weren’t making some shots—it was an off day for us.
“We know there are areas we have to improve on, so that’s a positive thing that came out of it.”
Team Grant was the only women’s rink to represent the Yukon last year in Yellowknife, finishing third. The first-place team gets a trip to the Scotties, representing the entire region.
“It was an excellent experience for us and that’s why we’re back this year,” said Corinne Delaire, who throws third for Team Grant.
Surprisingly, the Horte team is a new rink put together for the championship.
“This was our first weekend even practising,” said Hewitt. “We just want to put together a good squad and play with the lineup to see what’s best, so at the end of the month when we play NWT, hopefully a Yukon team can go.
“It would be nice if it’s us and nice if it’s the other team—as long as it’s a Yukon team, that’s the main objective.”
Last week, the Yukon Curling Association announced the other teams to represent the territory in upcoming championships.
Team Cowan, headed by Chad Cowan, which advanced past the Northwest Territories to the Brier last year in Winnipeg, will be the Yukon’s lone men’s rink.
According to Cowan, Northwest Territory’s Jamie Koe team will be his stiffest competition when his rink travels to Yellowknife February 12. Although Team Cowan downed Koe last year, Koe was victorious the previous two years.
“He’s our toughest competition,” said Cowan. “I think we’ll fare pretty well.”
The challenge that Koe’s team presents is increased by the recruitment of veteran curler Jon Solberg, who led a Whitehorse team to the Brier in 2002 and currently is the Whitehorse Curling Club’s business manager.
“This year, Jon decided not to put a team together in Whitehorse and decided to group together with one of the Yellowknife teams,” said Cowan. “That’ll be our toughest competition.”
Yukon juniors will be represented by Team Koltun in the women’s and Team Scoffin in the men’s when they travel to Salmon Arm, BC, at the end of the month.
For the masters’ divisions, Team Banks will be for the women and Team Gee for the men. The masters’ will be played March 30 to April 5 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
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