Hinton rinks takes long route to title
Curling: Glen Hansen makes clutch shot to win Alberta mixed championship
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 06:00 am
The victorious rink didn’t take the easy route in winning the Alberta mixed curling championship.
Hinton’s Glen Hansen won the championship by drawing to the four-foot on his final rock through a maze of granite to beat Sean O’Connor 6-4 March 30 at the Oilfields Curling Club in Black Diamond.
When Hansen looked down the ice while in the hack for his final shot he saw plenty of opposition granite. Hansen had a slim 5-4 lead and O’Connor was sitting three.
“I was just worried about the line because I had to come through two opposition rocks and some (shots) were curling and some weren’t,” said Hansen. “At first I thought I was a little bit warm, but it worked out well for us.”
Hansen appeared to have been coasting to the title after building a 5-1 lead after six ends.
He built up the lead when O’Connor’s final rock in the fifth end went through the house to give Hansen a steal of three at 4-1. He then stole another in the sixth for the four-shot lead.
However, O’Connor started chipping away at the lead like Michelangelo sculpturing David. He took one in the seventh and then stole one in both the eighth and ninth end to cut the lead to 5-4 coming home in the 10th.
“The whole week we seemed to be coming from behind so we learned to be patient,” said the Calgary Curling Club’s O’Connor. “We knew we could come back and we almost did.”
Only Hansen’s clutch shot in the 10th prevented O’Connor’s masterpiece of a comeback.
“He made a great shot,” O’Connor said. “Our whole goal was to try and give him a tough shot. We did and he made it.”
Hansen has a similar shot to his game-winner, when he brought his final rock to the edge of the four-foot in the eight-end to prevent O’Connor from stealing three.
“That was another really big shot,” O’Connor said.
Hansen not only had to make a long drive to Black Diamond for the championship, he also took the long route to the provincial final.
The leaderboard was more jammed than the Deerfoot before Stoney Trail.
There were five teams tied with 4-3 records after round-robin play on Friday.
A tie-breaking system of head-to-head matches and closest-to-the-buttons draws were used to determine rankings from 1 to 5 among the tied teams for the playoffs.
Hansen was seeded fourth and beat Tom Usselman in a tiebreaker 9-3 to make the final four.
The Hinton curler was 2-3 at one point. He won his final five matches. Hansen advances to the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships in November in North Bay, Ont.
The Hansen rink is Hansen, Tiffany Steuber, Les Steuber and Sherry French. For more information go to saca.ca