By Marshall Mayne
The UPEI Panthers are headed to the USports Curling Championships in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The Gallant rink defeated the UNB Varsity Reds in the Bronze medal game in an extra end to solidify their place at the Nationals.
The UPEI Panthers are skipped by Chris Gallant (Bachelor of Business Administration), third Kyle Holland (Bachelor of Business Administration), second Brooks Roche (Bachelor of Science), and lead Alex MacFadyen (Bachelor of Science).
The first draw of the tournament saw the Panthers pick up three in three separate ends to defeat the St.FX X-Men 11-3 in six ends. The next two games however, on Friday showed just how stiff the AUS competition was. The Panthers fell 5-3 and 7-5 to the Memorial Seahawks and the Dalhousie Tigers respectively. Both teams would eventually meet in the AUS final.
UPEI rebounded well winning two of their next three games to advance into Sunday's Championship round. The Panthers defeated the Acadia Axemen 7-3, and then followed with a 6-5 victory over the UNB Varsity Reds. To close out the round robin, the Panthers dropped a 5-4 decision to the Saint Mary's Huskies.
With one win on Sunday the Panthers would advance to the USports Curling Championships. The Memorial Seahawks who finished the round robin undefeated waited for the Panthers in the morning draw. An upset seemed possible when the Panthers and Seahawks were tied 5-5 going into the seventh end, however, MUN would get one in the eighth and steal two singles in the ninth and tenth to defeat the Panthers 8-5 and advance to the gold medal game.
Things didn't go according to plan in the bronze medal game as the Panthers fell behind the UNB Varsity Reds 6-3 heading into the tenth and final end. With hammer the Panthers put rocks in play, and followed by a couple misses by the Reds a shot for three seemed possible. With the final stone of the game, the Panthers would make the shot for three and force an extra end.
In the extra end, without hammer, UNB going for the win missed their final shot and the Panthers stole two for the win and the right to represent UPEI at the USports Curling Championships.
Stay tuned for more information regarding the Panthers and their journey to the USports Championships.