Sports N.W.T. beats Ontario in big upset at Scotties curling championship
Icemaker Greg Ewasko going the distance in Calgary's curling bubble
CALGARY — Greg Ewasko will be an expert on curling bubble life by the time he's done tending Calgary's ice. The icemaker from Oakbank, Man., will spend 52 days making ice for four Curling Canada events at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre. Add in time he's spending to transform a hockey rink into a curling venue before the Feb. 19 start of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, that's 63 straight days on the road. Curling Canada is holding the national women's, men's and mixed doubles championships, and men's world championship in a controlled, spectator-free environment at one site in order to have a curling season and avoid spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The N.W.T.'s curling team defeated Team Ontario 7-5 Wednesday morning, in a major upset at this year's Scotties.
Kerry Galusha, the N.W.T.'s team captain and skip, said her team is "really excited" to come out on top.
"We really needed a win … to keep our hopes alive to make the championship pool," Galusha said. "We played well and we're really happy."
The win moves Team Galusha to 3-3, good for fifth place in their pool, and keeps them in the hunt for a playoff spot at this year's tournament. Sixteen teams are contesting the tournament in two pools of eight, with the top four in each pool making the championship round.
Tournament of Hearts first test of Curling Canada's Calgary bubble
CALGARY — Kerri Einarson will miss having her twin daughters ask her when can they go to the hotel pool. The skip of the reigning Canadian women's curling champions says those moments are mental breaks from the intensity of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. The 2021 Tournament of Hearts opening Friday starts a run of four spectator-free Curling Canada events in Calgary in a controlled environment to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Einarson's daughters won't wait by the rink boards at the home end of the ice to celebrate or commiserate as they did on championship weekend in Moose Jaw, Sask., last year. "They're my support team," Einarson said.
Galusha said she went out "really focused" on the ice Wednesday morning, knowing that this game against Rachel Homan, a three-time Canadian champion and former world champion, and her team was going to be tough.
Video: Kerri Einarson 'could be the first curler to win twice and not go a worlds' (cbc.ca)
While Galusha has been to many Scotties championships, and matched up against Homan numerous times, the games typically aren't close, she said, and so the team used a different tactic.
What she wanted to do was "mix up" the team's strategy to make the game competitive, said Galusha, going toe to toe with Homan instead of playing a wide open game focused on keeping the ice clear of rocks.
"It worked. We ended up playing right with them," Galusha said.
"We got in a bit of trouble here and there, but we always seemed to be able to make the bailout shot."
Since winning this morning's game, Galusha said the team's gotten many messages from fans congratulating them.
Galusha and her team are taking the afternoon to rest up so they can "come out firing" for their next match against Team Yukon Wednesday night.
"We just want to keep building, keep playing better and doing all those little things right," Galusha said.
That game starts at 6:30 p.m. MT.
Brier in the Bubble: Defending champion Gushue beats Epping in opening draw .
CALGARY — Brad Gushue picked up where he left off at the Canadian men's curling championship on Friday night. In his first game with the full foursome of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker since winning the Tim Hortons Brier a year ago, the defending champs showed few signs of rust in a clinical 6-2 win over Ontario's John Epping. Canada shot 91 per cent as a team while Gushue threw a perfect 100 per cent, numbers he felt may have been a little too kind. "To use a golf expression, there's no pictures on the scorecard," Gushue said with a smile. "There were some throws out there that were pretty gross. But we got a lot out of every shot.