THUNDER BAY – At one end of the standings, Al Hackner, Trevor Bonot and Brian Adams Jr. were looking to stay perfect and improve to 3-0.
At the other, Bryan Burgess was trying to avoid an 0-3 start.
The news was good for three of the four skips on Wednesday night at the Port Arthur Curling Club, competing in Week 3 of the Tbaytel Major League of Curling.
Hackner had little trouble against Jodi Judd, the 68-year-old former two-time world champion opening an early 1-0 lead before stealing two in the second and singles in the third and fourth to pull out an 8-1 win.
Bonot opened with a deuce, stole two more in the second and closed with a steal of two, downing Adams Jr. 7-2.
Meanwhile Burgess, who dropped his first two matches, scored three in the fifth en route to a 6-3 win over the previously undefeated Krista McCarville foursome.
It was a long time coming, Burgess said.
“After losing the first two this year, we were really hoping to win this one. Anytime you play Krista McCarville, you get up for those games. It’s actually really nice to beat her this year,” said Burgess, whose team includes Mike and Tristan Vale and Bill Peloza.
The fifth end was the turning point, he said.
“We were tied at that point, and getting three on Krista it’s a big jump for our team. We just kind of controlled it from there,” Burgess said.
Hackner, who is tied with Bonot atop the Major League standings after three weeks, with six points, said it’s a great start to the season.
“The ice is very, very playable, very good, so we’re pleased with how we’re playing. The 3-0 start is solid, but nothing is ever easy out here. We’ve just been fortunate we’ve gotten a few of our opponents on their off game. It’s a little bit of them, a little bit of us and it turns into three wins,” Hackner said.
“We actually threw it pretty good there. We had our weights down, which was key on this ice. I don’t think we missed a draw. When you can pinpoint your draws with precision and put them in the right place, you can put a lot of pressure on the other team.”
One sheet over, Bonot had two goals in mind – remain unbeaten and for he and his teammate, Mike McCarville, to stay sharp ahead of next month’s Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in Swan River, Man.
Despite amassing a 4-0 lead through two ends, Bonot didn’t find himself in a runaway, with Adams scoring a single in the fourth and stealing another in the fifth to cut the gap to 4-2.
Bonot, McCarville, Jordan Potts and Kurtis Byrd fought back to score one with hammer in the sixth and came up big without in the seventh, stealing a pair to put the game out of reach.
“It was fun to play that game. We were expecting a really tight one and it was like that right up until the end – lots of rocks in play.
Bonot, who leaves next Friday for nationals, said getting the chance to tune up his game against tough competition should bode well in Swan River.
“It’s huge that we have our league to play in to prep for nationals. Our team wasn’t able to travel before this, so getting to play these good caliber games with lots of intensity is very important for Mike and I as we move forward.”
In other action, Dylan Johnston downed Nicole Westlund Stewart 7-1, Gary Weiss blanked Denis Malette 8-0, Ron Rosengren picked up his first win of the season, scoring two in the eighth to edge Dallas Burgess 6-5, and Kory Carr beat Ben Mikkelsen 7-2 for his first win of 2022-23.