Okotokian rocked at provincial championships
Curling: Taylor Ardiel and Team Smith finish 2-5 in Edmonton
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 06:00 am
The second trip through the Junior provincials proved to be equally challenging for an Okotoks curler.
Taylor Ardiel and Team Smith finished 2-5 at the Junior Men’s Curling Provincial Championships, Jan. 9-13 at the Saville Centre in Edmonton, missing out on an opportunity to make hay in the playoff round.
“It was tricky ice, it was hard to figure out,” said Ardiel, the second for skip Scott Smith. “The ice didn’t play to our favour. The weights didn’t play to our favour, it was really keen, really straight and something we haven’t played on yet this year. We did our best adapting to it but it wasn’t enough.”
Team Smith, based out of the Calgary Curling Club, advanced through the districts and Southerns to qualify for its second provincial championship in a row.
Ardiel lamented the missed opportunities in Edmonton given the strong play of the foursome in the lead up to the bonspiel.
“You have to put three weekends together and we put two good ones together and this wasn’t a good one,” the Okotokian said. “We had high aspirations to make it to playoffs.”
Team Smith dropped its tournament opener 6-2 to Michael Roy, Ardiel’s former team, and rebounded nicely with an 8-2 romp over Aiden Procter out of Edmonton in the evening draw on Jan. 9.
The ice began to tilt against the Smith rink on day two. Team Smith carried a 3-0 lead over Devin Burkitt, but the Dawson Creek chuckers responded with six unanswered points in the final two ends to steal the 6-3 win.
Team Smith was in control of its own destiny and would have earned a spot in a tiebreaker or the semifinal round prior to the Burkitt loss.
The Calgary rink’s dreams of qualifying for the playoff round were put on ice following an 8-2 loss to Thomas Scoffin, the eventual provincial champion, and a 10-4 trouncing at the hands of Medicine Hat’s Denton Koch.
“The game against Burkitt, if we won that we would have been alright, but since we lost it made it tough and then losing to Koch we just lost at the wrong time, wrong place,” Ardiel said.
It was déjà vu all over again for Team Smith in Edmonton as the foursome finished on the outside looking in at the playoff round of the 2012 provincials with a record of 4-3 in Medicine Hat.
“We walked in knowing what to expect, just not how well it was going to go,” said Ardiel, 19. “The experience was much better. The rink was great, the officials, the venue. Everything was 10 times better than last year. We just didn’t put a good weekend together and that’s how it goes.”
Opportunities for atonement on the sheets are still plentiful for Team Smith.
The Calgary squad is in Lacombe this weekend for the Alberta Junior Curling Tour’s (AJCT) Masters Grand Slam. Team Smith sits second in the AJCT standings with 57 points and need to ensure a top-eight standing to qualify for the World Financial Group Players’ Championship, March 15-17 in Airdrie.
Team Smith lost in the Tour championship final last year to Okotoks’ Kyler Kleibrink.
For full schedules and results go to www.albertajuniorcurlingtour.com.