Andrew Gittis (left) and Desmond Young in action at the Vesta Energy Red Deer Curling Classic at the Pidherney Centre on Monday. Their team from Edmonton, skipped by Ryan Jacques and including Gabriel Dyck won the men's side 6-5 over a Saskatoon team skipped by Colton Flasch. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)

Red Deer Curling Classic winning teams from Edmonton and Japan

Edmonton’s Team Jacques wins men’s side and Japan’s Team Fujisawa wins women’s event

Edmonton’s Team Jacques and Japan’s Team Fujisawa came out on top in tight contests in the Vesta Energy Red Deer Curling Classic on Monday.

The team skipped by Ryan Jacques edged Colton Flasch and his team out of Saskatoon 6-5 in the final at the Pidherney Centre.

For Jacques and his team, the victory ends a challenging dry spell.

“Overall, the event went really well for us, which we were glad to see,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of rough events over the last few months, not qualifying for playoffs for three or four in a row.

“So, it was great to qualify and have a great run in the playoffs.”

Flasch and his team were tough competitors.

“This game was real close. We were down two in the middle of the game. We made some key shots to get back into it and we got just a little lucky in the last end there with their misses.”

He points to the sixth end as a turning point.

“They had gotten the momentum in the fourth and fifth ends and then we managed to get our deuce back to tie the game. That was a big swing towards us because they were outplaying us a little bit in the fourth and fifth ends and then we got our act back together.”

Team Fujisawa was in a similar position. After falling behind, they had to step up their game to edge Korea’s Unchi Gim and her team 6-5.

“Team Korea plays very, very good. Maybe they had the momentum,” said Chinami Yoshida. “But our skip Satsuki Fujisawa is very good and we kept patient.

“Even though we weren’t playing good in the first few ends we were patient and stayed positive.”

Red Deer Curling Club manager Wade Thurber was pleased how the event went after a two-year hiatus. Last year’s event could not go ahead because of the pandemic.

“We tried real hard last year, but the rules kept changing and we weren’t able to host it.

“But we got 50 teams altogether. We can host as many as 56 but I thought we did pretty good considering we were running against the Olympic trials. We probably lost four or five teams to that.

“And the European championships are on, so all things considered, we did pretty good.”

The Canadian Olympic trials are currently underway in Saskatoon.

Despite the competition from other events, Red Deer managed to draw plenty of curling talent.

“There were lots of good crews here and they made a ton of good shots. We got some world-ranked teams here from Europe, Korea and Japan.”

Thurber said Ryan Jacques regularly came to Red Deer as a junior curler.

“So, it’s kind of fun to watch him progress through juniors and on to men’s and do quite well.”



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The women's team, skipped by Japan's Satsuki Fujisawa and including Chinami Yoshida, Yumi Suzuki and Yurika Yoshida, defeated a Korean team led by Unchi Gim 6-5. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)

Skip Ryan Jacques watches as Desmond Young (left) and Andrew Gittis sweep in the men's Vesta Energy Red Deer Curling Classic on Monday. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)