Erik Colwell pulled off the rare feat of winning in a double-extra end.
The Vernon junior skip was a bit unlucky in the 11th end as his attempted hit and stick rolled out causing a blank. But he battled back through a tense 12th end to hit and stick through a port for the 7-6 win and a trip to the final Tuesday at 3 p.m. against Tyler Tardi.
“The last time I saw a double extra end was a couple of years ago between Alex Horvath and Matt McCrady in the U18 finals,” Colwell said after the playoff win against Hayato Sato. “It’s tough mentally to be out there, especially when I missed two shots for the win in back-to-back ends, both pretty simple shots. For it to come down to that stone with so many rocks in play. I didn’t really know where it was going to go, it’s very stressful.”
The interesting thing about the double-double was the players seemed to relax somewhat realizing they were a part of something unique.
“Everyone was kind of relaxed after that because they couldn’t believe that we were still there. If Hayato makes that perfect hit and roll we probably lose the game, we did have to catch a break to get there,” Colwell confirmed.
It was fitting that the two teams took 12 ends to decide a winner, given how evenly matched they were throughout the week.
“We both had the same record and it showed for a reason. They’re great guys and they’re fun to play against and they’re really good and we just happened to be on the winning side this time, just barely,” Colwell said.
Colwell and his team of third Logan Miron, second Ben Morin, lead Tyler Powell and coach Dale Hofer, have the evening to relax and let the semi-final fade into history before resetting to face first-place finisher Tyler Tardi Tuesday at 3 p.m.
“Ever since I first started competitive curling this is my first real final and I’m exhilarated to be there. I’m excited to be playing tomorrow, with the TV and the cameras and the lights,” Colwell said.
“It’s the same sheet we beat them on and we’re taking the same rocks we beat them with. I know they’re really good and they’ve been there multiple times, so they have the experience, but you never know, we can make it a surprise.”
Colwell says the extra day spent waiting for their competition may be a mental speedbump for Tardi.
“We have beaten them so that may linger in the back of their minds. They’re going to come out hot and really good and we’re going to have to be sharp to beat them,” he noted.
After forcing Sato to take one with the hammer in the first end, Colwell was heavy on a draw against one in the second and gave up a steal.
The early-end jitters were evident on both sides of the ice.
Colwell came back with a nice come-around hit for two in the third to tie it and really roll up his sleeves on the contest.
Sato was tight on an attempted hit in four and gave up a steal of two to Colwell.
In five, Colwell was a bit outside on a peel-weight hit to try to clear the house and left one Sato rock behind. Sato drew for two to close out the first half.
Colwell then made a clutch draw against two on the edge of the four-foot for a single in six.
There was a mess of rocks in play in seven with finesse on display all around the house which ate up several extra minutes on the teams’ clocks. It came down to a measurement and it ended up going to Colwell.
Sato came back with a single on a hit and stick on the edge of the four foot in eight.
Colwell managed to clean house and blank nine, and he was up one coming home with the hammer.
It was a messy 10th end and Colwell had a tricky draw to the pin to score but was just heavy and he gave up a steal of one to send it to the extra end.
Just when you thought you’d seen it all, Colwell’s hit and stick for the win in 11 sailed a bit and he rolled out, blanking the end and forcing a 12th.
Colwell ended up making a finesse hit and stick for the win in 12 through a port.
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