There were only two games in Draw 12 Friday night (Feb. 1) at the West Fraser Centre, but they were big ones in the 2019 B.C. Men’s Curling Championships.
Team Wenzek faced Team Joanisse, and Team Barry played Team Blandford to determine which two teams would become the C qualifiers and advance to the playoffs.
Team Barry from Golden Ears needed only seven ends to defeat Victoria’s Team Blandford 9-3. Skip Josh Barry, lead John Cullen, second Jay Wakefield and third Sebastien Robillard came out of the gate strong, taking a 3-0 lead in the first end. Skip Matthew Blandford, third Chris Baier, second Derek Ryan and lead Cal Jackson came back with two points in the second end to get within one of Barry but could never get closer, as Team Barry scored two points in the fifth end and four in the seventh.
“We had a great game today; we did what we needed to do,” Robillard said right after the win. “We put all our rocks in the right place, the team supported each other, positive out there, and everything pretty much went according to plan.”
Looking ahead, Robillard says his team has to focus on doing much of the same.
“We’re going to build a bit on the momentum from today and hope that we keep it up,” he said.
The other game took a full 10 ends, as Team Wenzek, whose members curl out of Langley, Royal City and Kamloops, beat Team Joanisse from Golden Ears, Royal City and Victoria, 10-7.
Skip Daniel Wenzek, third Jared Kolomaya, second Jordan Tardi and lead Nicholas Meister took a 2-0 lead in the first end, but Team Joanisse’s skip Dean Joanisse, third Andrew Bilesky, second Steve Kopf and Paul Cseke answered right back and tied the game 2-2 in the second end. Team Wenzek went up 5-2 after four ends, but Team Joanisse scored another two points in the fifth to get within one. The teams traded points in the sixth and seventh ends, and then Team Wenzek pulled ahead 8-5 with two points in the eighth end. In the ninth end, Team Joanisse once again narrowed the gap to one by scoring two points, but Team Wenzek scored twice in the 10th to secure the win.
“One of our goals this season was to make the playoffs in provincials, and we’ve accomplished that,” Wenzek said immediately following the game. “At the start of the week, it felt a bit dicey throwing, but now it just feels so good to feel like we’re throwing really well, the guys are super confident, we’re supportive of each other. We can’t wait to play tomorrow.”
“I thought we dialed into the ice really well and our teamwork was really good,” he added. “We had a couple moments where we sort of faltered, but in general, we just keep building and building each game, and we just keep getting better and better.”
For Saturday, Wenzek, like Robillard, thinks his team needs to focus on “more of the same.”
“Our rocks have gone really well, our communication’s been excellent, the guys know where all the rocks are going, the weights have been really good,” he said. “I’m feeling really confident.”
This marks the first time ever making playoffs at provincials for Wenzek, Meister and Tardi, while Kolomaya has made provincial playoffs in Manitoba when he was playing there.
“It’s really exciting,” said Wenzek. “For us, it’s our first time. Our second, Jordan, he’s just out of juniors, and he gets to make playoffs at provincials on his second try, so it’s pretty exciting for him.”
Wenzek believes his team has gotten this far by being on the same page.
“I think it’s just we’ve dialed in, we’re all buying into what we want,” he said. “Our coach has been instrumental in helping us; without Ken [Brown], I don’t think we would have been anywhere near as good this week.”
With the wins, Team Barry and Team Wenzel became the men’s C qualifiers, and they will now face each other in Draw 14 Saturday (Feb. 2) at 2 p.m. in the playoffs. The first game of the playoffs will be A qualifier Team Cotter of Kelowna and Vernon against B qualifier Team Montgomery of Victoria Saturday at 9 a.m. The winner of the Barry-Wenzel game will face the loser of the Cotter-Montgomery game in Draw 15 Saturday at 7 p.m.
There were no women’s games Friday night, as the round robin had concluded n the afternoon, with teams Wark, Brown, Hudyma and Richards qualifying for the playoffs.
The top-seeded Team Wark, who finished the round robin with a 6-1 record, will play second-seeded Team Brown, who finished with a 5-2 record, Saturday at 9 a.m. in Draw 13. Draw 14 at 2 p.m. will see third-seeded Team Hudyma face fourth-seeded Team Richards. Both teams finished the round robin with a 4-3 record.
The winner of the Hudyma-Richards game will face the loser of the Wark-Brown game in Draw 15 Saturday at 7 p.m.