THUNDER BAY – For Lakehead skip Hailey Beaudry, not a single opponent at the U Sports-Curling Canada University Championships will be as intimidating as who she had to face at her last major event.
Beaudry earlier this year took on both Krista McCarville and Tracy Fleury at the Northern Ontario Scotties Tournament of Hearts play-downs, where she said she and her teammates picked up valuable experience curling against two of the best rinks in the world.
She’s hoping to put that experience into practice this week in Thunder Bay, where Beaudry, lead Erin Tomalty, second Emily Cooney and third Kendra Lemieux are competing for a national university crown at the Fort William Curling Club.
“I think the Northern Ontario championship, when we played against Fleury and McCarville, were definitely beneficial to help set us up. They are some of the top teams in the world right now. That definitely gave us an advantage for a different playing field,” said Beaudry on Sunday, coming off a disappointing 10-5 defeat at the hands of Haylee Jameson’s Regina Cougars team, evening her record at 1-1 in the eight-team event.
Beaudry, who finished 1-4 at provincials, said being able to compete for the U Sport title at home is a unique experience, but they’re definitely not satisfied just being in the field as the host.
There’s a lot more to accomplish, she said.
“Success, we would hope, would be winning,” Beaudry said. “It will be tough, but that’s what we’re going for. We’re not here just to be the host. We’re here to participate and we’re here to compete.”
The Cougars scored three in the third to break open a 1-1 tie, then added three more in fifth to go up 7-2.
It was better news for Thunderwolves skip Dave Henderson one sheet over on Sunday.
Henderson scored three of his own in the fourth to break open a scoreless tie and went on to an 8-1 win over the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers, a match that saw the two teams shake in the eighth end.
The Waterloo, Ont. native said playing at home, so to speak, is a huge edge for his team, which sits at 1-1 after two draws.
“It’s an awesome experience. There are lots of spectators and a home-crowd advantage. It’s also nice curling on ice you’re familiar with. It’s just a different atmosphere,” said Henderson, whose team also includes lead Mark Metcalfe, second Evan Chasamore-Johnston and third Matt Smith.
The Lakehead men, tied for third with three other teams, take on Regina on Sunday night while the women, in a six-way tie for second, tangle with Ryerson. Dalhousie and Memorial top the men's field at 2-0. The University of Alberta, skipped by Kristen Streifel, is the lone unbeaten team on the women's side.