HCI curling team defeated in tiebreaker at provincials

HUMBOLDT — After fighting their way through some close robin game games, the Humboldt Collegiate Institute senior boys’ curling team was knocked out of provincials in a tiebreaker.

The local high school was the host of the provincials, held at the Humboldt Curling Club March 8 and 9.

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“We were thrilled with our round robin performance,” said Braden Fleischhacker, the team’s skip. “We were two and one, lost our last game in an extra end. We couldn't have been happier with that.”

Karla Gardner, the team’s coach, said they curled really well.

“We won games by stealing an extra end, we won games by counting and extra ends. One came down to a measure for us to win so they were very close games and they represented our school very, very well.”

Humboldt tied with one of the two Weyburn teams, which ended up winning the tiebreaker 7-5.

“The biggest moment for us would probably be when we were down three early and then we came back in the third and we got three,” Fleischhacker said. “That was huge for us. It brought our momentum back up and we were ready to continue with the game even though we were down three early.”

The skip said the tiebreaker was lost because his team had made a few key misses.

“It was an inch here or there, that was the deciding factor in this game and that's what it came down to hurt us in the end.”

Fleischhacker said the Weyburn team was good with their shots and that while his team took advantage of their misses, it wasn’t enough.

“All the wins they had, they deserved. They stuck in there till the end and it was a good battle for sure.”

Gardner said Humboldt Collegiate Institute bid to hold the provincials a year ago.

“It was actually a year ago that Braden, our skip, approached us and asked us, Ms. [Stacy] Jackson and I, if we'd be interested in putting in a bid.”

They talked it over with the principal and decided to move ahead

“We've been knowing that we've been going to host this for the past year, and we knew we'd have a strong enough team that we could compete.”

That team was made up of Fleischhacker, Cole Bells, Carter Tarnowski and Nathan Tremblay, with Ashley Frank as a spare.

As a host, the Humboldt Collegiate Institute team automatically has a berth in the provincials, but they worked their way through pre-districts, qualified in districts and qualified in regionals.

“We actually earned our spot here, it wasn't just as a host, which is huge,” Gardner said.

Both Gardner and Fleischhacker said they were proud of their team.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” the skip said. “None of these guys have curled competitively before and they really, over the past few years, stepped it up and made unbelievable shots.”

All of the team members except for Bells are graduating from the high school this year. Fleischhacker said he hopes Bells can get a new team together next year and compete in the provincials again.

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