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Alberta Wins Gold at Canadian Mixed

Saturday Nov 14 2015

Mick Lizmore and his Alberta teammates will get another chance to wear the Maple Leaf on their backs.  Lizmore’s Alberta squad from Edmonton completed a perfect, unbeaten week at the 2016 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Weston Golf and Country Club in Toronto with a 4-2 win over Saskatchewan’s Bruce Korte in the gold-medal game.

 With the win, Lizmore, third Sarah Wilkes, second Brad Thiessen and lead Alison Kotylak will represent Canada at the 2016 World Mixed Championship, Oct. 15-22 in Kazan, Russia.

“It was pretty satisfying,” said a happy Lizmore, 28, a PhD student and instructor at the University of Alberta. “Heading into that last game, we were thinking to ourselves that we better put a good effort forth because it would be a shame to end the week with a loss. So we were pretty happy to put a good game together there. Bruce’s team played really well, but we were glad to get it done.”

All four Alberta players have played internationally for Canada. Lizmore and Thiessen played third and second respectively for Brendan Bottcher’s bronze-medal team at the 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy. Wilkes was the third for Laura Crocker’s Canadian team at the 2013 Universiade, while Kotylak was the alternate for Kelsey Rocque’s gold-medal Canadian team at the 2014 World Juniors in Flims, Switzerland.

 That experience showed up throughout the week in Toronto, and especially so in the gold-medal game as Alberta was in command the entire way.

“I think the experience definitely helped us, with Brad and I playing Universiade together and Sarah playing Universiade, and Ali with her junior experience,” agreed Lizmore. “I think we knew what to expect going into this week, and that couldn’t have hurt throughout the week.”

After blanking the first against Saskatchewan, Lizmore coolly hit for a deuce in the second end to take a lead he would never surrender. After two blanks, Korte was forced to a single in the fifth end, and Lizmore immediately responded with another deuce to go up 4-1.

 Korte blanked the seventh, and had three rocks in the rings in the eighth, but Lizmore made a double takeout with his first delivery. Korte froze to the Alberta shooter, but Lizmore ended the game with an open hit to prompt the handshakes.

“It was a reassuring thing to score that deuce in two, and then keep things pretty safe and clean for the first four ends, really,” said Lizmore, who finished the game scored at 95 per cent. “That kind of set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Besides their international experience, all four Albertans had won national titles previously. Lizmore and Thiessen won the 2012 CIS Canadian university championship with Bottcher; Wilkes won back-to-back CIS gold medals as Crocker’s vice-skip; and Kotylak won the 2015 CIS title throwing lead rocks for Rocque.

 The champs — two couples, as Thiessen and Kotylak are engaged while Lizmore and Wilkes are dating — will have 11 months to prepare for the second World Mixed Championships in Russia. At the inaugural World Mixed, this past September in Bern, Switzerland, Max Kirkpatrick’s Canadian team bowed out in the quarter-finals.

“That’s pretty unbelievable — it’s pretty special to be able to share this with Sarah, and also for Brad and Ali to be able to share it as well,” said Lizmore. “It’s something we never could have dreamed of.”

It was Alberta’s leading 11th Canadian mixed championship in the 53-year history of the event. Alberta and Saskatchewan arrived in Toronto each having won 10 previous times.

 Korte’s silver-medal team from Saskatoon was rounded out by third Ros Stewart, second Kevin Marsh and lead Carolyn Marsh .

 Meanwhile, in the bronze-medal game, Northern Ontario’s Colin Koivula romped to an 8-3 win over New Brunswick’s Charlie Sullivan.

 Koivula’s team from Thunder Bay — third Oye-Sem Won Briand, second Christopher Briand and lead Amanda Gates — scored three in the second end, stole a single in the third, and then put the victory away with three more in the fifth.

 Sullivan’s Saint John foursome included third Leah Thompson, second Paul Nason and lead Joanne Freeze.

 The 2017 Canadian Mixed Championship is scheduled for Nov. 14-19, 2016, in Yarmouth, N.S.

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Manitoba's Sigurdson Misses Championship Round at Canadian Mixed - Wednesday was another day of mixed results for Manitoba's Bob Sigurdson team at the Canadian Mixed Championship in Toronto. The Manitobans opened Wednesday with a 12-2 victory over the team from Nunavut but followed with a 9-4 loss to Yukon. The 3-3 record was not good enough to earn Manitoba a spot in the event's championship round. Returning to the ice Thuersday morning in the 'seeding round', which will be used to rank the provincial enties a year from now at the Canadian Mixed, Manitoba defeated Prince Edward Island 7-3. After taking the rest of the day off Thursday, Team SIgurdson lost a Friday morning game to BC (7-6) to give them a 4-4 record. Their final game Friday evening against Newfoundland-Labrador was a 5-4 victory to give Team Manitoba a 5-4 record.

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Tuesday Update #2: Manitoba's Sigurdson 2-2 at Canadian Mixed - A 6-4 loss to Northwest Territories on Tuesday afternoon dropped Manitoba's Bob Sigurdson Team to a 2-2 record at the Canadian Mixed in Toronto. The Manitobans are tied with 3 other teams at 2-2 in their pool, behind New Brunswick and the Territories at 3-1. Alberta is 4-0 in the other pool - the only undefeated team in the championship.

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Tuesday Update #1: Manitoba's Sigurdson 2-1 at Canadian Mixed - Bob Sigurdson's Manitobans have improved their record to 2-1 at the Canadian Mixed in Toronto with a loss to New Brunswick (6-3) Monday evening and a win (10-6) over Ontario on Tuesday morning. The Manitobans play 2-0 NWT on Tuesday afternoon.

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Monday:  Manitoba's Sigurdson Opens Canadian Mixed with Extra End Win - Manitoba's Bob Sigurdson foursome (Erika Sigurdson, Alan Purdy, Lindsay Baldock) opened the Canadian Mixed Championship in Toronto with a Sunday afternoon extra end victory over Quebec. Manitoba stole on the extra end for a 6-5 win. Monday afternoon, Team Sigurdson will have a bye. Monday evening they will play New Brunswick, who had a first round bye and who play Ontario earlier in the day.                                                      

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2016 Canadian Mixed starts Sunday in Toronto (Curling Canada Release): The Canadian Mixed Curling Championship gets underway on Sunday at the Weston Golf and Country Club in Toronto. It’s the 53rd edition of the Mixed, which began in Toronto in 1964 and has been won a leading 10 times by both Alberta and Saskatchewan.
    
 Once again this year, the championship will feature 14 teams (10 provinces plus Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon) seeded and separated into two pools of seven teams each (based on their won-lost record at last year’s Mixed in North Bay, Ont.), who will first play a round robin within their pool.

 At the conclusion of the round robin, the top four teams in each pool advance to the Championship Pool, when the teams play the teams from the opposite pool, carrying forward their full won-lost records.

 Meanwhile, the bottom three teams in each pool will go to the Seeding Pool, where they will compete against the three teams from the opposite pool. These teams also carry forward their full won-loss records.

 At the conclusion of the Championship Pool round on Friday, two semifinals will take place Saturday morning at 10 a.m. ET, pitting 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. The two winners then advance to the final Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. while the two losing teams meet in the bronze medal game at the same time.   

 Final results will determine seeding for next year’s Canadian Mixed in Yarmouth, N.S.

 All games throughout the competition are eight ends. Also, no tiebreaker games will be played at the conclusion of either round. Instead, any unsolvable ties for position after head-to-head results will be determined by accumulated Draw Shot results.
 
 The winning team will then represent Canada at the 2016 World Mixed Curling Championship, Oct. 15-22 in Kazan, Russia. Last year’s winning team, skipped by Saskatchewan’s Max Kirkpatrick, lost in the quarter-finals of the inaugural World Mixed Curling Championship this past September in Berne, Switzerland.

 Every province, plus Northern Ontario, has won at least one Canadian Mixed Curling Championship since 1964. Ontario has three Mixed titles to its credit, the latest by Orillia’s Cory Heggestad, who won the 2013 edition when staged in Mount Royal, Que. Ottawa’s Mike McLean will wear the host province’s colours this year.

 The last time the event was held in Toronto was in 1985 at the Bayview Country Club, with British Columbia’s Steve Skillings prevailing.

 Among this year’s competitors are a number of players with Tim Hortons Brier or Scotties Tournament of Hearts experience, including skips Dean Joanisse of British Columbia, New Brunswick’s Charlie Sullivan, Northern Ontario’s Colin Koivula, Steve Moss of the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island’s Eddie MacKenzie, Quebec’s Maxime Elmaleh (a former Brier champ playing lead for Jean-Michel Ménard in 2006), Saskatchewan’s Bruce Korte and Yukon’s Bob Smallwood.

 Sullivan also won the 1987 Canadian Juniors and 1988 World Juniors while Joanisse skipped his province to victory at the 1989 Canadian Juniors.

 Over the years, the Mixed has been won by such well-known curlers as Jeff Stoughton, Rick Folk, Rick Lang, Kevin Koe, Mark Nichols, Colleen Jones, Barry Fry, Paul Flemming, Jean-Michel Ménard, Robert Campbell and Shannon Kleibrink, who is the only female to win the Mixed as skip, which she did in 2004 at Schumacher, Ont.

 Saskatchewan’s Larry McGrath is the only three-time winning skip, having won the Mixed in 1967, 1968 and 1971.

 For event, team and draw information, visit www.curling.ca/2016mixed.



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