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Team Bonot captures Northern Ontario mixed curling crown

Thunder Bay rink, the 2017 Canadian mixed champions scored two in the eighth to down Team Johnston 6-5 and earn a berth at next month's nationals in Alberta.

THUNDER BAY – The Trevor Bonot foursome overcame a scary situation in the third end on Sunday and earned a third berth at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship since 2017.

Early in the end, third Jackie McCormick slipped on the Port Arthur Curling Club ice, hitting a head on a rock.

After a 15-minute delay so she could go through the concussion protocol, McCormick was back on the ice, and while the end didn’t turn out so well for her team – Dylan Johnston’s foursome scored three, coming up short on a draw for four – Team Bonot persevered, scoring two on their final shot of the match to pull out a hard-fought 6-5 win.

It was a frightening few minutes, McCormick said.

“It was pretty scary. All weekend we’ve been slipping in spots and I joked that it was going to happen. Well, it happened in the third end. I hit my head on a rock, was pretty sore for a while, but came back. The competitive juices flow when you’re here and you just have to step it up,” McCormick said.

“I think it actually made me try harder, focus harder and it worked out.”

Bonot, whose team also includes lead Jen Gates and second Mike McCarville, needed all hands on deck in a game that saw the lead change five times.

After blanking the opening end, Bonot used hammer to draw to the four-foot for a pair in the second. Johnston got them back and one more in the third, despite a potentially costly flash by third Laura Forget on her opening stone. Marcy Barry and Chris Briand rounded out the Johnston squad. 

Bonot didn’t waver, despite the setback.

They bounced back with a deuce in the fourth, getting out of an early sticky situation when McCarville made a double takeout. Johnston attempted a double takeout of his own with his final shot, but only got rid of one, leaving Bonot with a draw for two and a 4-3 lead.

The teams blanked the fifth and the cool-as-a-cucumber Johnston retook the lead in the sixth, left with a hit-and-stick for two that he made without breaking a sweat.

Bonot played for the blank in seven and got it, giving him hammer coming home, needing two for the win and one to force an extra end.

A mistake by Forget, who took out her own team’s stone, sitting shot rock on the button, made it a tad easier, though Bonot and his teammates still had work do.

On his first, Bonot left his rock on the left side of the four foot, sitting two. Johnston tried to hit-and-roll behind cover, but didn’t move far enough, leaving a partially open hit-and-stick for the win.

“Eight started off a little rough. We had a few misses early but then Mike made an incredible freeze and it just put us in a good position. Then Jackie made two good shots and my first one didn’t quite get in a good spot. It left (Johnston) and opening and he capitalized and he made it,” Bonot said.

“I took a second in the hack, deep breath, and left it to the sweepers. I threw the right weight and everyone was on board and we made it.”

The veteran skip, who won it all in 2017, said he’s looking forward to a third trip to nationals, which kick off on Nov. 7 in Canmore, Alta.

“After winning and going back with the expectations you put on yourself and by others, you realize you’ve got to throw that out and now we’re just going to go in and have fun again. We all get along so well and take that attitude, like we were here, and take it one game at a time,” Bonot said.

“If we have to grind them out, we will.”

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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