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Team P.E.I.’s Brandon Blacquiere is declared the winner in his Canada Games boxing bout Tuesday evening at the Halifax Forum.
Island boxers advance to semifinal bouts
Team P.E.I. will have two fighters in semifinal bouts this evening as the 2011 Canada Winter Games boxing competition continues at the Halifax Forum.
On Tuesday night, P.E.I.’s Brandon Blacquiere advanced by defeating Cody Everson of Newfoundland and Labrador 11-3 in the 50-60 kg class. He will join Robert MacMillan who won his preliminary bout on Monday night to advance to a semifinal match-up against Neil Gohrke of Saskatchewan.
Also in action Tuesday evening, Benjamin McCarville of P.E.I. lost 10-7 to Tony Doiron of New Brunswick in the 60-64 kg class and was eliminated from competition.
Blacquiere came out very strong in his fight and built up a lead, said boxing coach Howard Watts.
“He kept the guy at the end of the punch, jabbing him and catching him with his right hand. He fought a very smart fight and won all three rounds.”
McCarville, unfortunately, was a little nervous in the early going in his fight, said his coach, and was outscored by three points in the first of three rounds by his more experienced opponent.
The P.E.I. fighter had a strong third round and outscored his opponent 4-1, but it wasn’t quite enough to win it.
“He had trouble getting his punches inside because of his inexperience . . . ,” said Watts.
With the single elimination format, the preliminary bouts are must-win situations for the athletes with no time to ease into the competition.
“Every time you get into the ring, you have to give it 150 per cent, go toe to toe and do whatever you’ve got to do to get to the final bell.”
Also in action today, Islander Luke Holland takes on Evan Larsen of Alberta in the 64-69 class in the last of the preliminary bouts involving Island fighters.
P.E.I.’s Jairus Godfrey is in sixth place after the short program in the novice men’s event Tuesday evening at St. Margaret’s Centre.
The 17-year-old skater from Annandale successfully landed six of the seven required elements (two spins, three jumps and two step sequences) and scored 25.07 points.
Drew Wolfe of Team Alberta leads with 43.48 points. The free skate goes Thursday evening.
“He had a really good skate. He was very focused on his job at hand. He owned the program and he owned his performance,” said Team P.E.I. coach Michelle Coyle, adding that his one miss was his triple Salchow jump, which he landed but slipped off the edge.
His personality and presentation are among his strengths, said the P.E.I. coach, adding that Godfrey, who skated to My Own Way to Rock, really got the crowd into his performance.
“It’s a nice piece of music and he really gets into it. There were people in the stands who started clapping along. It’s a real crowd-pleaser. That brings him up and he starts skating even better.
“We are very proud of him. He went out and represented us very well. He has a lot of potential.”
Coyle says Godfrey will look to carry this momentum into his long program.
In the meantime, two Island skaters compete in the women’s pre-novice long program this evening. LeAnne Revell comes into the competition in 16th place after a personal best in the short program, while teammate Taran Price is also aiming for a strong skate.
“They are looking at staying focused, doing the job at hand and owning the ice for that three minutes,” said Coyle. “They are out there to show what P.E.I. is made of.”
The P.E.I. men’s curling team stole three in the fifth end and four more in the sixth on the way to a 10-3 win over Quebec in Canada Games curling action Tuesday afternoon at the Mayflower Curling Club.
The victory was the first of the Canada Games for the squad, skipped by Tyler Smith, and puts their record at 1-2. Earlier in the day, P.E.I. lost 5-2 to the Northwest Territories.
“It feels really good to get that first win because we had been hoping to win this morning and lost,” said the skip. “We were kind of disappointed, so this one felt really good.”
In the Quebec game, the Island fell behind 3-0 early on, but a three in the fourth evened the score. Two consecutive steals of three in the fifth and four in the sixth put the Island ahead to stay.
Smith said the first of these three big ends was key to his team.
“I think after we got that first big end, it really motivated us and we played really good performance-wise for the next three ends and it led to the win.”
Island coach Kevin Smith said it was great to pick up the victory after the morning loss in a game where P.E.I. couldn’t seem to get anything going.
“A couple of players had a hard time finding draw weight. Even though the game was close and we had a couple of chances, we just couldn’t convert a two.”
The score was close at the halfway mark with P.E.I. down 2-1. However, the Northwest Territories stole one in the fifth and two in the sixth to go up 5-1. Although P.E.I. got one back in the seventh, the Territories ran them out of rocks in the final end for the win.
“They were a bit disappointed, but as curling goes, you can win big or lose big,” said the coach. “Some positives were that we never gave up any big ends, so the boys are consistent. We’ve had a couple of games to get warmed up and I’m hoping we are good to go for the next games.”