Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials headlines Sports Extra

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Roar of the Rings

Marc Kennedy of St. Albert is curling up a storm with the Kevin Koe rink at the Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.

Team Koe was off to a flying 4-0 start before playing Mike McEwen (3-0) of Winnipeg on Tuesday. The score was unavailable at press time.

Koe’s last game in the nine-team draw before the playoffs is Friday against Brad Gushue (2-2) of St. John’s, Nfld.

The semifinals are Saturday and the final is Sunday to determine the Canadian qualifier for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang in South Korea.

Kennedy, 35, is the third for Koe, with Brent Laing at second, Ben Hebert at lead, alternate Scott Pfeifer of St. Albert and coach John Dunn.

The Koe foursome won the 2016 Brier and world championships and in 2017 lost the Brier final to Gushue.

Kennedy was an Olympic gold medallist in 2010 as the second on the Kevin Martin rink with John Morris and Hebert.

Pfeifer is a multiple Brier and world champion and the alternate for the Koe rink for three consecutive years.

Pfeifer and Kennedy were inducted into the St. Albert Curling Club wall of fame in 2011.

The Olympic Trials started with a 6-3 decision for Koe against Steve Laycock (1-3) of Saskatoon as Kennedy curled 91 per cent.

The next game was the 8-6 win over Brad Jacobs (2-1) of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. as Koe tied it at six with a deuce in 10 and stole two in the extra end. Kennedy was graded at 88 per cent.

Koe scored the winning point against Reid Carruthers (2-2) of Winnipeg in the extra end as Kennedy’s curling percentage was 83 in the 6-5 victory.

The fourth game also went down to the wire with Koe counting two in 10 to edge Bottcher (1-2) of Edmonton 7-6 and Kennedy was 89 per cent on target with his shots.

Meanwhile, the Val Sweeting rink with Paul Kane High School teacher Lori Olson-Johns at third was 1-3 before Tuesday’s game against Michelle Englot (0-3). The score was unavailable at press time.

Visit www.curling.ca for draw times and results for the men’s and women’s Olympic Trials.

Stick bonspiel

The stakes are high for 24 teams at the 50-plus Stick Spiel starting Thursday morning at the St. Albert Curling Club.

Each team receives $32 to start off the day and if they lose a game they lose half of what they have and the winner gets their share of what the pot is at the time.

The competition wraps up Friday afternoon and every team is guaranteed three games per day.

Stick curling is comprised of two players per team, males or females or mixed, and each game is six ends with six rocks per team per end.

A number of teams from the popular Friday stick league in St. Albert, as well as entries from the Morinville and Spruce Grove areas, are participating.

St. Albert is also hosting the 2018 Canadian Stick Curling Championships in April.

The 2014 stick nationals in St. Albert featured 48 teams.

Spirits Rise Up

The Sturgeon Spirits are the home team for the Rise Up basketball tournament.

Eight men’s and eight women’s teams are competing at Sturgeon Composite High School.

Thursday’s tournament opener is the women’s match at noon between the Spirits and Bellerose Bulldogs, followed by the 2 p.m. men’s match between the Spirits and Austin O’Brien Crusaders.

The Morinville Wolves also play the Bev Facey Falcons at 4 p.m. in the men’s draw.

Saturday’s finals are 10:45 a.m. for the men and 12:30 p.m.for the women in the consolation brackets and 4 p.m. for the women and 5:45 p.m. for the men on the championship side.

Bellerose hoops

The Bellerose Bulldogs finished eighth out of 16 men’s teams at the 20th annual Mike Dea Classic.

The Bulldogs split two games Thursday – 65-63 over William Aberhart Orange of Calgary and the 74-63 loss to the Leboldus Golden Suns of Regina – followed by setbacks of 97-74 to the Crescent Heights Cowboys of Calgary and 81-75 to the Leduc Tigers.

In the win against Aberhart, Daniel Ward tallied eight blocks and 13 rebounds, Matt Pilgrim shot 8-for-9 from the three-point line and Noe Tchomo was all over the court grabbing rebounds, finishing at the rim and hit a huge pull-up and contested three-pointer to tie the game with under a minute to go.

Joel Ngoga also hit five out of six clutch free throws down the stretch and a deep two-pointer that put the Bulldogs on top for good.

The Bulldogs came up with a big stop with seconds to play and Aberhart looking to tie or win with its last possession.

Ward was the top Bulldog against Leboldus in the quarter-finals with five blocks and nine rebounds as the team ran out of gas playing its third game in two days, including an exhibition against the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds.

Last season, the Bulldogs were 9-1 in the metro Edmonton division two league and the only loss was in the quarter-finals.

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About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.