Bonot wins nail-biter
Trevor Bonot certainly didn’t win his first game at the Northern Ontario men’s curling qualifier the easy way on Friday.
Bonot watched his fifth-end lead of three drip down to zero before using his last shot to draw for the single in the 10th end to defeat Al Hackner 6-5 at the Port Arthur Curling Club.
The 27-year-old Bonot was pleased how he and teammates Al Macsemchuk, Chris Briand and Mike Badiuk hung tight against one of Thunder Bay’s most recognizable and decorated curlers, who’s 31 years Bonot’s senior.
“It was intense. It was nice to come down to our last shot and making it,” Bonot said. “You know (Hackner) was going to claw back. He’s never out of a game, that’s for sure.”
Hackner and his first-year grouping of Kory Carr, Kris Leupen and Gary Champagne had their chances to tie the game earlier or storm ahead of the Bonot rink. A pick in the second led to a steal of two Bonot points and another shot picked in the sixth end when Hackner was threatening to tie a 5-2 game, but settled for a single.
“There’s four points right there. Even with that, we battled back and made some good shots,” Hackner said. “Even my last rock (in the 10th) was supposed to plug that line. It picked off and basically it was a useless rock. We lost two or three key rocks that game that could make a difference in that scoreboard.”
Bonot and Hackner are two of six local skips competing at the Port Arthur club for three spots at next month’s Northern Ontario championship in Nipigon.
In other Draw 1 action Friday, Bryan Burgess took control early against Dylan Johnston, notching a 5-0 lead after three ends and then adding four more in the fifth en route to an 11-3 win.
Jeff Currie is also 1-0 after he erased a 5-3 deficit against Mike Assad.
Currie scored two in the 10th to nip the reigning Northern Ontario mixed champion 7-6.
A small field this weekend — missing the likes of perennial contenders Joe Scharf and Brian Adams Jr. — was not a surprise to Bonot.
“Curling’s been tough in the fact you have to travel so much. We did six events out of town. It’s a big commitment,” said Bonot, a Stratton, Ont., native who’s lived in Thunder Bay over the past 10 years. “You see a lot of them are young and just getting married or starting families and making that commitment is tough. So when you can’t travel and do all that and put all you can in the year, it’s hard to say, ‘Let’s go in playdowns’ and maybe not do as well as you want to.”
The second draw will get underway this morning at 9:30 a.m., followed by Draw 3 at 2 p.m. The last two round-robin draws will be played Sunday with a tiebreaker showdown, if necessary, set for the evening.
“We’ve got to come out (today) and win two big games to put us into shape,” said Hackner, who will face Assad and Burgess today. “We have to keep our heads and go strong. Hopefully we don’t get anymore of those bad breaks.”
Elsewhere, the first two draws of the regional bantam boys and girls qualifiers at the Kakabeka Falls Curling Club were held Friday. Port Arthur skips Mackenzie Joblin and Jenny Keetch lead the boys and girls divisions, respectively, with 2-0 records.
The top qualifier in each division advances to their respective provincial championships, Feb. 7-10. The boys will be in Longlac, while the girls will compete in Sioux Lookout.