Yukon rink falls short at Scotties qualifier

Team Yukon capped their Scotties run with a win, but by then it was too late.

Team Yukon capped their Scotties run with a win, but by then it was too late.

The Yukon rink suffered two losses to open the pre-qualifying event at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, ending their run at the national championship over the weekend in St. Catharines, Ont.

“We’re OK. Obviously we knew what we were signing up for and this was a potential outcome because only one of the four teams is the one that gets to stay. Obviously we would have preferred that it was us,” said skip Sarah Koltun. “Just like last time we came out and played well but just came out on the wrong side. It’s unfortunate and it’s tough to swallow, but if nothing else it’s good experience for us moving forward.”

Making the losses all the more aggravating for Team Koltun was that they let leads slip away.

They opened with a 9-6 loss to the N.W.T., led by Yellowknife’s Kerry Galusha, on Feb. 16. The turning point came when Galusha scored four in the fifth end to take a 6-3 lead.

Team Yukon then fell 9-7 to New Brunswick on Feb. 17. New Brunswick, with skip Melissa Adams, the 1998 world junior champion, scored three in the 10th end for the win.

“Being in that situation where you’re one up without the hammer, it’s a fine line between are you trying to steal a point, or are you trying to make them get one to force an extra end and have hammer in that extra end,” said Koltun. “We kind of got stuck between playing for the steal and playing for the force. By the time it was my shot it just wasn’t set up well for either situation.”

The Koltun crew finished with a 13-1 win over Nunavut on Feb. 17. Yukon scored three in the first, third and fifth ends en route to the rink’s third career Scotties win.

Team Koltun, which also competed at the Scotties in 2014 and 2015, included third Chelsea Duncan, second Patricia Wallingham, lead Jenna Duncan and fifth Helen Strong.

They decided to change things up a bit after the loss to N.W.T., switching the Duncan sisters with Jenna playing third and Chelsea lead. They also brought in Strong for four ends against Nunavut.

“By that last game we knew our run at Scotties was done and Helen had been such a great support for us, it was the least we could do, to get her into that game,” said Koltun.

N.W.T. went on to beat New Brunswick 5-3 on Feb. 18 to advance to the main draw with the 11 other teams.

The championship will run all week into the weekend with the final on Feb. 22.

“At the end of the day I’m proud of the girls and how we represented the territory,” said Koltun. “We’re leaving here with our heads held high.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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