Newfoundland and Labrador’s male curlers came close to a comeback for the ages, but couldn’t quite deliver a third medal for the province at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
The Newfoundland rink, skipped by Nathan Young (Torbay), and including third Sam Follett (Paradise), second Nathan Locke (C.B.S.) and lead Ben Stringer (C.B.S.) trailed Manitoba 8-0 through three ends of their bronze-medal game Saturday, but the St. John’s-based entry clawed its way back, only to lose 8-7.
It was the second tough loss in a row for the Young rink, which had been tied 3-3 and in ownership of last-rock advantage in the eighth and final end of their Friday semifinal against Ontario, only to give up a steal of three in a 6-3 loss.
That result denied Newfoundland a place in Saturday’s gold-medal game, which saw British Columbia beat Ontario 7-2.
N.L. had finished third in preliminary play, winning seven of 10 games, including a 5-3 decision over Manitoba. However, in the semifinal rematch, the westerners stole all their points, including five in the second end alone.
But the Jeff Thomas-coached Newfoundlanders hung in, scoring three in the fourth end and stealing three more in the fifth. The next two ends were blanked, and while the Manitobans gave up another stolen point in the eighth, it wasn’t enough damage to keep them off the podium.
Overall, Newfoundland was 8-5 in the competition, including 6-2 victory over New Brunswick in the quarter-final round.
In female curling, Newfoundland and Labrador, represented by the Corner Brook team of skip Mackenzie Mitchell, Sarah McNeil Lamswood, Mikayla O’Reilly and Ainsleigh Piercey, had a 3-7 record.
Saturday was the final day of competition at the Games, which saw two Newfoundland medal-winners: Emma Mullett of St. John’s, who claimed a bronze in judo, and Melanie Taylor of Conception Bay South, winner of the gold medal in ladies’ Special Olympics Level 2 figure skating.
Taylor was the province’s flag-bearer for the Games’ closing ceremonies on Saturday night.
The province’s second-half contingent at the Games flew out of Calgary Sunday morning, bound for St. John’s, with a scheduled arrival early Monday morning.
Sixty Games participants from outside the metro area were set to bus out of St. John’s today. Of course, as is the case with travel this time of the year, everything had a “weather-permitting” tag.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Mission Staff received the Claude Hardy Award, which goes to the staff best exhibiting leadership, cooperation and Games integrity. The province also won the award at the last Canada Games in 2017.