Quebec Reclaims Bronze at Canada Games in Comeback Win Against Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan 3 – Quebec 4

Dartmouth, N.S. – It took an inspired comeback and an overtime period for Quebec to earn its second straight women’s hockey bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games, with a 4-3 win over Saskatchewan inside the Sportsplex on Saturday afternoon.

Quebec also won bronze at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Y.T., and has now won bronze four different times at the event, which takes place every four years. Quebec took silver medals in both 1999 and 2003, when the Games took place in Corner Brook, N.L. and Bathurst, N.B., respectively.

Although Quebec earned bronze in the end, Saskatchewan didn’t give it up easily, putting up a feisty fight on the ice in hopes of medalling in women’s hockey at the Games for that province’s first time since winning the silver medal in 1995 in Grand Prairie, Alta. Saskatchewan had a surprising but crowd-pleasing start to the game when Kennedy Ottenbreit-Daunheimer (Grayson, Sask.) put her team on the scoreboard midway through the first. Lauran Zary (Saskatoon, Sask.) notched another in the last minute of the period and Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask.) made it 3-0 at 8:51 in the second to give Saskatchewan a lead that made it look the bronze might belong to them.

But while the first half of the game starred Saskatchewan, the second half was all about Quebec, starting with a beautiful goal at 11:34 in the second from Gabrielle Davidson (Pointe Clare, Que.), who sent a shot flying high into the net, the puck hitting the post before crossing the Saskatchewan goal line. Vickie Lemire (Hudson, Que.) added a pretty goal of her own to the scoresheet at 6:40 in the third and Laurence Porlier (Maria, Que.) sent it into overtime at 9:48 in the third.

Saskatchewan continued to show its spunk and sass on the ice during the fourth period, but Davidson secured the bronze medal at just 2:20 in the period, resulting in tears of disappointment for the determined girls from the Prairies and tears of joy for the comeback team Quebec.

Ontario’s Yen-Chun Lu Wins Gold Medal for Table Tennis Boys’ Singles

It was a battle of the top 2 seeds.  Ontario’s Yen-Chun Lu and Zexuan Wang have already won the gold medal in the team event and boys’ double.  Now, they will square off against each other in the gold medal match for boys’ singles.

Zexuan starts the match off strong by building leads of 3-1 and 6-2.  Yen-Chun is not able to make up ground during the game as Zexuan wins game 1, 11-4.  Now, its Yen-Chun strong play to take leads of 4-1 and 8-2.  The 8-2 lead is too big for Zexuan to overcome and Yen-Chun wins 11-6 in game 2.  With the match tied 1-1 and the gold medal awaiting the winner, the intensity goes up a couple notches.

Game 3 starts and Yen-Chun starts out up 3-0.  Zexuan fights back and takes a 9-6 lead.  Yen-Chun wins the next 2 points to make it 9-8 for Zexuan.  With Zexuan feeling the pressure, he takes a time out.  It proves to be a good move as Zexuan is able to win the game 11-9 and take a 2-1 game lead in the match.

Zexuan takes a 6-1 lead in the 4th game and it looks like he is well on his way to the gold medal.  Yen-Chun, the one that shows more outward intensity, wins 7 out of the next 8 points to take a 8-7 lead.  Zexuan wins the next point to tie it at 8 but Yen-Chun wins the next 3 points to win 11-8 in game 4.  The match is now tied 2-2 and it is all down to one game and the winner takes the well earned gold medal.  At this point, the crowd is well aware that these 2 athletes are as evenly matched as the score shows.

In the final game, Yen-Chun builds a 8-4 lead.  Zexuan has the next 2 serves and Yen-Chun is unable to return either of them.  Zexuan wins the next point when his last shot touches the net and Yen-Chun is unable to make the adjustment to return it.  The score now is 8-7.  Five points later, the match ends with a score of 11-8 and Yen-Chun, the top see, wins the gold medal in the 5th and deciding set.

In the end, the large and appreciative crowd got their monies worth out of the match and Yen-Chun Lu got his third gold medal of the 2011 Halifax Canada Games.

Teammates from British Columbia played for the bronze medal match in boys’ singles.  They were Adrian Lee and Jeremy Lau.  Similar to the gold medal match, the bronze medal match went to the 5th and deciding set to determine the winner.  Adrian took control the match by winning the first 2 games with scores of 11-7 and 11-9.  Jeremy was able to level the match at 2 by winning the next 2 games 14-12 and 11-8.  In the 5th game, Adrian Lee was able to win 11-5 and win the bronze medal.

Alberta Defeats Defending Champions Ontario 3-2 to Win Gold

Ontario 2 – Alberta 3

Dartmouth, N.S. – What a game, what a way to end a week of women’s hockey at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, N.S.

After winning the first-ever gold medal for women’s hockey at the Games, held in Charlottetown, P.E.I. back in 1991, Alberta finally earned its way back to the top of the pack in Saturday night’s gold medal game at the Sportsplex, defeating four-time championship winning team Ontario 3-2 in a fast-paced, action-packed game.

Although neither team could put the puck in the net during the first, the second period saw Alberta earn a quick and comfortable lead, with two power-play goals within less than a minute of each other from Bryanne Panchuk (Calgary, Alta.) and Brittney Fouracres (Airdrie, Alta.). Panchuk made it 3-0 at 16:48 in the period, sending Ontario players and fans alike into a bit of a panic and Alberta players and fans into excited cheers that echoed throughout the arena.

It seemed as though Ontario regrouped during the second intermission, as the four-time gold medallists came out cool and collected in the third, determined to make it five straight at the Games. Cayley Mercer (Exeter, Ont.) got her team on the board at 4:03 and Emily Fulton (Stratford, Ont.) used a power-play to narrow the gap at 15:57 in the period.

But despite Ontario’s best efforts, four minutes simply wasn’t enough time for the team to notch another and earn an overtime period. Time ran out on the clock and the Albertans scrambled off their bench and onto the ice to let the celebrations commence.

With proud family members watching, and satisfied hockey fans filing out of the doors, the young girls from Alberta embraced their medals and each other after a well-deserved win at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.

New Brunswick and Yukon Show True Meaning of Sportsmanship on Last Day of Games

Yukon 0 – New Brunswick 10

Dartmouth, N.S. – New Brunswick may have won its last matchup at the Canada Winter Games by a wide margin, with a 10-0 shutout over the Yukon in relegation action, but it wasn’t so much about the score on the board as it was about the positive attitudes of players on both squads Saturday inside the Sportsplex.

The teams fought hard on the ice, but they also had a lot of fun doing it, with the New Brunswick players encouraging the less experienced Yukon players and raising their sticks in respect and admiration of the determined little squad from up north at the end of the game. The teams also posed for photos and mugged for the camera together at the end of the game, in a true display of sportsmanship that won’t soon be forgotten.

Sam Bujold (Rothesay, N.B.), Anissa Gamble (Fredericton, N.B.) and Connor Garagan (Fredericton, N.B.) all contributed a couple of markers each, while Heather Braun (Plaster Rock, N.B.), Schyler Campbell (Rexton, N.B.), Leanne Gallant (Newbridge, N.B.) and Josée Léger (Cap Pelé, N.B.) had singles  for New Brunswick.

Shirley Fu wins Gold Medal in Table Tennis Girls’ Singles

The gold medal final for girls’ singles was a matchup of the top seed from British Columbia, Shirley Fu against the giant killer from Quebec, Annie Coulombe.  Annie has beaten the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the quarters and semi’s respectively to be a surprise finalist.

Shirley took control of the first game by going up 5-1 early and taking game 1 by a score of 11-4.  In the second, it was Annie’s turn to go up 5-1 but, unlike Shirley, was not able to hold the lead and lost 11-7. Annie showed she was a fighter in the 3rd game digging balls far away from the table and not giving Shirley any easy points.  Annie was up 10-6 but Fu saved 3 game points to make it 10-9.  Annie was able to win the next point and extend the match to the 4th game with a 11-9 victory in game 3.  Shirley’s experience proved to be too much for Annie as she was able to win the 4th game 11-1 and take home the gold for British Columbia. 

Fu said she was “excited, I feel so accomplished now” when asked about her performance at the 2011 Halifax Canada Games where she won 3 medals including 2 gold medals.

Annie, the 14 year old from Quebec and the 11th seed to start the tournament had nothing to hang her head about as she showed great fight, potential and also had 2 of the biggest upsets of the tournament.

The bronze medal match between Alberta’s Roxana Pao and Jiawei Liu from Ontario was an exciting one.  Pao came back from being down 2 games to 1 to win the last 2 games by scores of 11-4 and 11-8 to score a 3-2 victory and win the bronze medal for Alberta.

Ontario wins gold in men’s curling at the 2011 Canada Winter Games

Halifax, NS – Ontario and Saskatchewan were battling for the gold medal in front of a packed house at the Mayflower Curling Club.  Ontario opened the game with a single point in the 1st end.  Saskatchwan countered with 2 in the 2nd.  In the 3rd end Saskatchewans’ third and skip missed on a couple of shots, Ontario capitalized and scored a duce back. 

Playing the 4th, Ontario was lieing shot on the top 4 foot behind cover, Saskatchewan skip Brady Scharback had a draw to the button through a port for a single point.  The sweeper pounded it out of his hand and dragged it to the full four and the point.  The score was tied up 3-3 heading into the 4th end break. 

In the 5th there were a number of great run backs made by both teams.  Each battling for better positioning behind quards.  On Ontario skips first rock he attempted a draw around a corner guard, only to remain in the open.  Saskatchewan hit and roll ended up a nose hit to lie 3.  Ontario played the hit and got their single point.  The score after five was 4-3 for Ontario.

Saskatchewan had the hammer in the 6th end, lieing one burried biting the 4 foot, Ontario Skips last rock did not curl, Saskatchewan had a nice easy hit for two and the lead for the first time in the game. The score was 5-4 for the team in green.

Ontario blanked the 7th to keep hammer heading into the 8th end.  The 8th end game down to last rocks.  The first half of the end the teams exchanged open hits.  On Saskatchewan’s thirds first rock, he hit and rolled behind a  guard on the four foot line.  Ontario attempted a come around draw only to rub off Sasktachewans rock.  Saskatchewan hit the Ontario stone to lie two in the house.  Ontario down to only three rocks, they attempted a hit and roll to sit behind the guard.  Saskatchewan attempted run back on the guard to pick the rock out of the house went wide.  Ontario drew in to lie two.  On Saskatchewan’s last rock, they were left with a hit and roll.  He nosed the Ontario stone to lie first and third and Ontario was second shot.  On their final stone, Ontario hit and rolled to score to and the win.  The final was 6-5 for Ontario.

Final Standings – Men’s Curling

Gold Medal – Ontario

Silver Medal – Saskatchewan

Bronze Medal – Manitoba

4th Place – New Brunswick

5th Place – Nova Scotia

6th Place – Alberta

7th Place – Quebec

8th Place – British Columbia

9th Place – Newfoundland and Labrador

10th Place – Northwest Territories

11th Place – Prince Edward Island

12th Place – Yukon

Ontario, Quebec Take Gold. New Brunswick Surprises, in Judo Team Competition

Team Quebec looks on during the Gold Medal match of the Team Event for Judo at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax

The Canada Games judo team competition is a unique and exciting opportunity for the athletes competing in the event. Normally an individual sport, the Canada Games is often the only opportunity these athletes will have to participate in a team event. The camaraderie and excitement that comes along with the team event is an experience that will provide many of the judoka with some of their most memorable moments of the games. Describing the team event, Nova Scotia’s Dylan Landry said, “coming together as individuals to compete as a team creates a new atmosphere and gives us a new perspective on our sport. You are not only worrying about your personal result, you want all your team members to do well.”

For the team competition, five athletes from each province face off in a single elimination draw. Athletes face off against the competing team’s player in their same weight category. After the five matches are contested, the points from each match are tallied and the team with the most points moves on. The men’s and women’s teams compete in separate events.

On the men’s side, the top seeded Quebec put forward an excellent performance, racking up victories over Newfoundland & Labrador and Manitoba before defeating British Columbia in the finals.  The bronze medal competition saw a surprisingly strong New Brunswick team take on Manitoba, with Manitoba getting the win after a tight competition.

Quebec also had a strong showing on the women’s side, making it to the finals where they took on Ontario. After a thrilling contest that ended in a tie, Ontario pulled off the upset victory with an ippon by Jaya Creavalle in the tiebreaker match. New Brunswick’s women followed up their impressive showing in the individual competition to take the bronze medal over Saskatchewan, despite being down two competitors due to injury.

With three straight days of great crowds and skilled performances, the 2011 Canada Games competition leaves a legacy of raising the profile of judo in Nova Scotia and introducing the country several of its future Olympians. All of the volunteers and organizers deserve tons of credit and appreciation for putting together such a successful event.