It is not the kind of déjà vu that Canada’s Owen Purcell wanted to experience, but it is the cards his team from Dalhousie University in Halifax received.
The Canadian men’s curling team was served back-to-back losses against Great Britain’s Team James Craik on Thursday at the 2023 Lake Placid FISU University Games.
Great Britain delivered the final dagger to Canada’s gold medal chances Thursday evening at Saranac Civic Center in a 6-4 game. Canada trailed 5-1 after five ends, but battled back and forced Team Craik to make its final shot of the game.
“It didn’t quite go our way and we ran into a really hot Great Britain team today. Honestly, hats off to them. They played a really solid game and we didn’t quite play well enough to take this one away from them. They definitely deserve the win and I’m really proud of the guys because they left it all out there and I’m looking forward to playing in the bronze-medal game tomorrow,” Purcell said.
Skip Purcell, vice-skip Jeffrey Meagher, second Adam McEachren, lead David McCurdy, alternate Caelan McPherson, coach Anthony Purcell and team lead Helen Radford take on Switzerland’s Team Jan Iseli in the bronze-medal game at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
Great Britain faces Team Daniel Casper of the United States in the gold-medal game on Saturday. The United States defeated Switzerland 6-3 in the other semifinal game.
After giving up three to Great Britain in the fifth, Canada replied with a score of two in the sixth and stole a point in the seventh to trail by one point during the final end.
The team played a short angle raise on Canada’s last stone in the eighth end to sit shot stone behind cover. It left Great Britain with a runback for the win.
“It was a little bit tricky because they’re pretty good at the double peels and the runbacks. We had to make sure that the shot that we left [Craik] wasn’t easy. We had that little stagger on the left (side of the house), and it would have probably been better on my last one to hit it not quite as good so that he didn’t just have the straight run back. He made a nice one in the end,” Purcell said.
It was an exceptionally played game by both teams, with Canada at 86 per cent shooting efficiency and Great Britain at 90 per cent.
It is not the first time Purcell will play a bronze-medal game for Canada. He and McEachren earned Canada a bronze at the 2022 World Junior Curling Championships last season. It is a feat the duo wants to complete again and they’re drawing on the strength of a story told by Olympian Marc Kennedy during the 2022 Olympics when he was alternate for Team Brad Gushue.
After Gushue suffered a semifinal loss to Sweden at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Kennedy told the team about how his biggest regret in curling was not rebounding to win the bronze medal when he was in a similar situation at the 2018 Olympics. Team Gushue went on to win bronze, and Team Purcell used that motivation to earn the nation bronze at last year’s world juniors.
“We were thinking a lot about that during that game last year. It means so much to us to be able to win a medal for Canada, so we’re going to do our best to put ourselves in the best position possible to win that medal. It means a lot to us,” Purcell said.
Canada lost 8-2 to Great Britain during Thursday morning’s final round-robin game of the men’s competition.
The loss resulted in Canada finishing the round robin with a 6-3 record and fourth in the standings. Great Britain and its 8-1 record finished first, which set up the semifinal rematch.
The results of the FISU Winter Games 2023 are available here. The men’s bronze-medal game will be streamed on TSN+.