O’LEARY – If she were to offer advice to the Prince Edward Island men’s team heading to the 2018 New Holland Canadian junior curling championships with her later this month, Lauren Lenentine said she’d tell them to enjoy the experience.
“With all the teams from across Canada, you never know what you’re going to face, so having fun, meeting new people and enjoying the experience. That would be my advice. That’s what we did last year,” said Lenentine.
The Lenentine rink, which includes Kristie Rogers at mate, Breanne Burgoyne at second stone, Rachel O’Connor at lead and coach Pat Quilty, will be making their second trip to nationals, this time in Shawinigan, Que., from Jan. 21 to 28.
And joining the Cornwall women’s team will be the Alex MaFadyen rink from the Silver Fox in Summerside. For MacFadyen, 19, his 17-year-old brother, Parker, who plays lead, and mate James Dalton, 20, this was their seventh year curling together in the P.E.I. Pepsi junior (under-21) championships. This year, second stone Leslie Noye, who had previously skipped his own team out of Alberton, joined Team MacFadyen.
“It feels wonderful,” the winning men’s skip said moments after a nail-biting win over the Mitchell Schut rink from Cornwall in the C event final of the four-team men’s modified triple-knockout championship.
MacFadyen posted a 4-0 (won-lost) record en route to the provincial title, and three of those wins were over the Schut rink.
The final one turned out to be the closest of them all, despite MacFadyen starting the game with a four-ender in the first. A Schut deuce in nine tied the game 7-7 heading home.
In the 10th end, Team MacFadyen wasn’t sure whose stone was counting when their skip settled into the hack for the final shot. His hammer shot came up short, but they won the single point with the stone already in the house.
“We cut it close,” he acknowledged. “We had a good first half, but it was a little dicey the rest of the way.”
While the Silver Fox rink has one under-15 and two under-18 championships in their treasure chest, MacFadyen admits winning the under-21 title is what they’ve been working towards.
“I’m pretty excited. It's the first time we’re going, so it should be a good experience; get to play a lot of good teams,” he said.
The Canadian championship will be played on arena ice and club ice. MacFadyen is especially looking forward to trying out arena ice for only the second time in his curling career.
“It’s a nice change. Very consistent ice all the time,” he added. “It should be good to play on.”
Lenentine amassed a 7-0 record in the six-team women’s field, feeling the experience of having played in a national, and the opportunity that presented them to compete in an Ottawa spiel in the fall, gave them more confidence and consistency in O’Leary.
The Lauren Ferguson rink, which has curlers from the Charlottetown, Crapaud and Cornwall clubs, was their opponent for a second time Friday. Lenentine shot out to a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-3 win in the C event final.
Lenentine, O’Connor and Burgoyne have curled together seven years, and Rogers joined the team last year.
Members of the runner-up women’s rink are Katie Shaw, Alexis Burris, Lexie Murray and coach David Murphy.
The men’s runner-up team consists of Schut, Nicholas Johnston, Colin MacKenzie, Liam Kelly and coaches Bill Hope and Lori Robinson.
The coaches of the men’s and women’s championship teams, David MacFadyen and Pat Quilty received the Asham Coach awards.
The respective sportsmanship awards went to Alec Huestis from Team Devin Schut, and Lexie Murray from Team Lauren Ferguson.