Volume 92, Issue 82

Thursday, March 4, 1999


No Testa, no title

Murtaugh defines hockey excellence

Pride drives Mustangs to first place

Curlers go hard for OUA medals

Western rewind

Canada's March Madness hits Alumni Hall

Curlers go hard for OUA medals

By Dave Elia
Gazette Staff

The Western men's curling team took home the silver after being forced into a tie-breaking final game against McMaster at the Ontario University Athletics curling championships, held at the Avonlea Curling Club in Toronto this past weekend.

"I don't know if it was fatigue, but we weren't in the game mentally. We didn't really expect to play the tie-breaker," said skip Dennis Belanger.

According to vice Craig Savill, the Mustangs had an honest shot at the gold but came up flat in the final.

"Mac played pretty well. They hit us when we didn't have a good game," Savill said.

Belanger agreed with his vice's comments.

"We had unfortunate rocks, so we went down a few points early. When you play a good team it's tough to come back."

Both Belanger and Savill have extensive experience in the sport. Savill played with the Canadian junior team and Western team simultaneously this season. His obligation to the Canadian team forced him to miss an OUA tournament, but he insists his duel team status did not disrupt the Mustangs' team chemistry.

"I practiced a lot with Western during the week, so I think time with the Canadian team only benefited me," he said.

Head coach Bruce McAninch said the team, which also includes Craig Green, Mike Hamer and Sean Harris, had a highly successful campaign.

"It was a positive year," McAninch said. "I think next year we have an even better chance."

The men's team is hoping at least four of their starters will return in 2000, including Savill and Belanger. McAninch's biggest problem next season could be choosing a skip.

"Dennis and I will have to discuss who will be skip," Savill said. "We'll do what is best for the team."

The women's team was also faced with an unexpected situation – success. The team won a bronze at the OUA championships where they were heavy underdogs, a role Mustang second Heather Hambly said was a blessing. "We were there for a good time, so as a result we relaxed and curled really well."

The team's bronze can also be accredited to the team's dedication and frequent practicing. Being on the ice twice a week allowed the team to gel.

Next year looks to be a rebuilding season for the women's team who are losing a number of their members to graduation and academic commitments. Hambly said the growing popularity of the sport has brought more women to try out every year and the spots will be easily filled with young talented curlers.

Hambly is not returning next year but is confident the team will be successful again. "Bruce is a good coach, I'm sure they'll do fine."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999