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Sudbury curling rinks headed to national championships

The Megan Smith quartet representing the Sudbury Curling Club have torpedoed the three-peat.
Tanner Horgan and Kira Brunton are heading to the Optimist U18 Curling Bonspeil. File photo.
The Megan Smith quartet representing the Sudbury Curling Club have torpedoed the three-peat.

Smith, joined by Kira Brunton, Kate Sherry, Emma Johnson and Mikeala Cheslock, picked the perfect time to hand the Krysta Burns rink (Leah Hodgson, Sara Guy, Laura Masters) their first loss in Sioux Lookout, doubling the two-time Northern Ontario junior women's curling champions 8-4 Tuesday afternoon.

Two ends, in particular, appeared to make all the difference in the world, as Smith and company stole three in the fifth, grabbing a 4-2 lead at the time, before picking up another troika in the ninth end, this time with the hammer.

The Burns foursome had earned a berth directly in the final after reeling off seven straight wins in round robin play, including a 7-5 triumph Monday morning over Smith. That setback left the 2015 Canada Winter Games gold medal winning team sitting in second place at 5-2.

With three teams tied at 4-3, Smith's crew had to wait until early Tuesday afternoon for their semi-final match, bouncing Tiana Gaudry (Port Arthur) aside 8-1 after just six ends of play.

Right back on the ice a few hours later, Smith overcame the fact that their opponents, representing the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club, opened with last shot advantage, surrendering two in the second end, and just one in both the sixth and eighth in earning their trip to nationals later this month in Stratford.

They will be joined at the 2016 Egg Producers of Ontario Canadian Juniors by fellow Sudburians Tanner Horgan, Jacob Horgan and Nicholas Bissonnette, along with Smooth Rock Falls native Maxime Blais.

Also in search of a third straight trip to the Canadian Juniors, Team Horgan overcame a scare early in the final, posting a 6-3 come from behind win over the Josh Vanderburg rink from Sault Ste Marie.

Vanderburg held a 3-2 lead after five ends of play, before Horgan countered with two in the sixth, and a steal of one in both the seventh and ninth ends, completing their near-flawless sequence in Kakabeka Falls.

The three point margin was as close as any team would get to the Horgan squad, as the lads donning the Copper Cliff Curling Club colours for the first time this year outscored their opponents 73-17 over the course of their seven preliminary round games.