The Bruce rink is off to a hot start at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Juniors in Langley, B.C.
The rink from Newfoundland and Labrador, skipped by Daniel Bruce of Corner Brook, has won its first five games to kick off the tournament, which started Saturday and runs until this coming.
Bruce, 20, spoke to The Western Star by phone on Tuesday afternoon, discussing his team’s performance thus far and how they’re approaching the rest of the tournament.
The skip said their goal heading into the tournament was to advance to the championship pool and then on to the playoffs.
They’re well on track, having already solidified a sport in the championship pool.
Bruce didn’t expect to win five in a row in a national competition, but he was aware his team was capable of this kind of performance.
“This start is maybe a little surprising but it’s definitely something I knew we could do,” Bruce told The Western Star.
Despite the early undefeated record, Bruce’s rink has faced adversity throughout the round robin, winning every game by a margin of just one to three points.
In their second game, versus British Columbia2, they staged some late heroics tyo pull out a 7-6 win. The comeback started in the 10th end. when. down two with the hammer, they levelled the score at 6-6.
In the extra end, they stole one to take the match.
“Not easy for the coach or the fans or us, but that’s what’s good about us, we’re always grinding games out and we never get low on ourselves and we always fight to the end,” he said.
Bruce attributes their ability to handle adversity to experience and chemistry.
Third Ryan McNeil Lamswood, who is from Stephenville, is playing in his fifth national tournament, while it is the third for Bruce and lead Nathan King — also from Corner Brook — and second for second Joel Krats of Mount Pearl.
Bruce, whose rink is representing the Re/Max Centre out of St. John's at the nationals, added they all get along and stick together.
As for their on-ice performance, Bruce credited his teammates, who he said simply are not missing shots.
“I haven’t had to make many shots and that’s been the story all year,” he said. “It’s just been good play, we’ve just been making shots when we have to and we know we can compete with anybody here and we’re just showing that right now.”
For the rest of the tournament, they plan to continue their current approach and keep taking it one game at a time.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” said Bruce.
It’s still a long way to go.
The Bruce rink plays its sixth and final round robin game against Saskatchewan tonight at 11:30 p.m. NST.
The top four teams from each of the two groups will advance to the championship pool.
From the championship pool, the top three teams advance to the playoffs. The second and third seed play off with the winner advancing to face the top seed in the finals.