Team Ontario skip Bella Croisier led her women’s team to a gold medal at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Ontario and B.C. teams are golden in curling finals at Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games wrap up with some tense curling battles on Saturday

A gold medal win for the Ontario women’s curling team was a family affair on the last day of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

The team from Sudbury, Ont. that defeated Manitoba 8-3 in the final at the Pidherney Curling Club on Saturday is made up of sisters Bella Croisier, the skip, and Piper Croisier, the second.

They are coached by their dad Shawn Croisier, along with their teammates Lauren Rajala, the lead, and Jamie Smith, the third.

“It’s a lot of fun” to be working so closely with family members, said Bella Croisier. “It’s cool that we get to share these experiences.”

It’s also a great feeling to exceed expectations and win the tournament over silver-medal winning Team Manitoba, she added.

Team Nova Scotia won the bronze medal with an 8-7 score after playing an extra end in a close game against Team New Brunswick.

Since the Ontario curlers had placed sixth at the national competition in 2018, they worked on physical and mental strengthening. Bella said, “Our goal was just to make the play-offs” at the Canada Winter Games. But it soon became apparent that they would do far better when their only loss was to Manitoba during the earlier round-robin competition.

The final against Team Manitoba was a good game, tied up until the fourth end, said Bella. The Ontarians had waited for an opening and then played strong through to the sixth.

“We had to be patient,” said Bella — and it paid off.

Patience was also a virtue for the men’s curling team from British Columbia, which won gold in the 7-2 final against male curlers from Ontario, who ended up with silver.

Team Manitoba won a tense 8-7 bronze medal men’s match over Team Newfoundland.

Skip Hayato Sato, from the Vancouver area, said everything happened for his team in the seventh end. “We had lots of blocks until the 7th, then they gave us an opportunity and we made some huge shots.”

His B.C. team — including lead Troy Chong, second Dawson Ballard and third Joshua Miki — were a solid force: “The sweepers really helped me with both my shots,” said Sato.

He added it feels “unreal” to win the gold medal. “My knees are weak.”

Both of Alberta’s teams were knocked out earlier in the competition and placed fifth in women’s and men’s.

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Skip Hayato Sato, of the gold-medal-winning B.C. men’s curling team. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

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