On the fifth and final day of the 2023 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Championships, it was all about the hardware for the four remaining men’s and women’s teams. When it was all said and done, it was a pair of familiar schools who were hoisting the hardware: Laurier (men's) and Alberta (women's).
In the men’s semifinals, the two games could not have been any different. In the Queen’s-Laurier matchup, the Golden Hawks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and, after the teams traded deuces, led 6-3 at the fifth end break. After stealing singles in both the sixth and seventh ends, the Golden Hawks appeared to be well on their way to the gold medal match but a massive score of 6 by Queen’s in the eighth catapulted them into the lead with two ends to play. The Gaels managed to steal a single in the ninth to take a two-point advantage into the tenth but when their final shot failed to roll under cover, the Golden Hawks had an open hit to score 4 and win the game 12-10.
In the Laurentian-Dalhousie matchup, the teams played a very clean game with Dalhousie’s opening deuce accounting for the majority of the offence in the first half as the Tigers led 3-1 at the break. The Voyageurs switched gears coming out of the break and managed a single in six before stealing two in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead. After blanking the next two ends, the Tigers’ Adam McEachren had a fantastic draw threw the port to the button on his last to send the game to extra ends. After McEachren sat frozen to the Laurentian stone on the side of the button, Laurentian’s Jacob Horgan was forced to play a difficult in-off in an attempt to remove the red stone. His shot ended up being thin by just millimeters as he picked out his own, leaving the Dalhousie stone in place and sending the Tigers to the gold medal game.
On the women’s side, Memorial and Alberta played to a very defensive 3-2 score line before the Pandas blew the game open with 5 in the eighth end. The Sea-Hawks rebounded with a pair in the ninth but, needing two more in the final end to force extras, the Pandas held them to a single, punching their ticket into the gold medal game.
In the second semi, Laurentian jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but Dalhousie responded with four of their own over the next two ends. The teams traded points over the next four ends but in the eighth, it was the Tigers taking advantage of a Laurentian miss to steal three and jump out to a 10-5 lead. The Voyageurs could only muster a single in the ninth before conceding, sending the Tigers to the national championship game.
In the men’s gold medal game, Laurier’s Sam Mooibroek had a draw for 3 in the third end after the Dalhousie raise was not hard enough, giving the Golden Hawks a 5-1 lead. In the sixth end, Mooibroek played a fantastic in-off into jam-packed four foot to salvage a single. After the Tigers picked up a pair in the seventh, McEachren was looking at a pair in the rings and one in front of the house. Knowing he needed something special to stay in contention, McEachren attempted a split to score four and tie the game but his shot stone just ran out of gas before it got into the rings and the Tigers had to settle for three. Mooibroek did not have to throw his last in the tenth end as the Golden Hawks emerged with a 9-7 victory and back-to-back U SPORTS titles.
In the women’s gold medal game, after a pair of steals, Dalhousie held a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth end despite not yet having hammer. Alberta finally got on the board in the fifth when Serena Gray-Withers executed a delicate hit for one. In the seventh end, Gray-Withers had an open draw for two, the only multiple score of the game, and the teams were knotted at 3 with three ends to play. In the next end, Dalhousie’s Marin Callaghan had a hit for four and a big lead but when the granite finally settled, it was only a score of one for the Tigers. After Alberta picked up one in the ninth, Dalhousie just needed a single while carrying the hammer into the tenth. With the final stone in her hands, Callaghan needed to pick the Alberta stone off the button to earn a win. She made a wonderful shot and picked the stone clean but elation turned to heartbreak when the picked stone jammed on a stone in the back 12-foot and instead, it was Alberta jumping for joy with the steal and their second consecutive U SPORTS banner, winning 5-4.
In the bronze medal games, Bella Lehtimaki-Croisier’s final shot stopped just in time in the four-foot to give Laurentian a 6-5 win over Memorial while Jacob Horgan’s final shot slid an inch too far and Queen’s did not have to throw their last, beating Laurentian 6-5.
All-Canadians and other major awards were also given Sunday night following the championship. The recipients were:
Second Team Women
- LEAD: EMILY NEARY (Memorial)
- SECOND: ABBY DESCHENE (Laurentian)
- THIRD: GRACE LLOYD (McMaster)
- SKIP: MARIN CALLAGHAN (Dalhousie)
Second Team Men
- LEAD: SCOTT WEAGLE (Saint Mary’s)
- SECOND: WYATT SMALL (Wilfrid Laurier)
- THIRD: DESMOND YOUNG (Alberta)
- SKIP: JACON HORGAN (Laurentian)
First Team Women
- LEAD: GRACE MCCUSKER (Dalhousie)
- SECOND: EVELYN ROBERT (McMaster)
- THIRD: PIPER CROISIER (Laurentian)
- SKIP: BELLA CROISIER (Laurentian)
First Team Men
- LEAD: GABE DYCK (Alberta)
- SECOND: BEN MORIN (Alberta)
- THIRD: DEREK BOYER (Calgary)
- SKIP: SAM MOOIBROEK (Wilfrid Laurier)
USPORTS National Coaching Award
- For coach of a Women’s team: MARK NOSEWORTHY (Memorial)
- For coach of a Men’s team: DAVID WILLIAMS (Dalhousie)
R.W PUGH FAIR PLAY AND SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
- Men: KIBO MULIMA (Wilfrid Laurier)
- Women: LINDSEY BURGESS (Dalhousie)