Vernon’s Ben Morin (left) and Tyler Powell of Invermere follow the stone during the gold-medal game at the Canadian U18 Boys Curling Championships in Sherwood Park, Alta. Sunday. The B.C. champs, skipped by Erik Colwell of Vernon, dropped a tough 6-5 decision to Ontario in the championship match. (Infinite Eye Photography - photo)

UPDATED: Vernon curlers fall in gold-medal Canadian final

Erik Colwell, Ben Morin, and teammates Tyler Powell and Mitchell Kopytko reach U18 national final

Two Vernon curlers came up a point short in a bid for a Canadian championship Sunday afternoon.

Skip Erik Colwell and second Ben Morin, along with teammates Mitchell Kopytko, third, from Kamloops, and lead Tyler Powell of Invermere, lost the final at the Canadian U18 Boys Curling Championships in Sherwood Park, Alta, falling 6-5 to Ontario’s Dylan Niepage from Coldwater.

The win avenged a round-robin loss to the B.C. champs for Niepage, who took control of Sunday’s final in the third and fourth ends, stealing a total of three points, and rattling off five consecutive points for a 5-2 lead at the four-end midway break.

Colwell got back to within two with a single point in the fifth, but Niepage answered back with a point of his own in the sixth for a 6-3 lead. Colwell got one in the seventh, then, without hammer, stole one point in the final end to come up one point short.

Colwell defeated Nova Scotia’s Owen Purcell of Truro 8-5 in a Sunday morning semifinal.Niepage whipped Manitboa’s Jordon McDonald 12-2 in the other semifinal. McDonald defeated Purcell 4-2 in the bronze-medal match.

Colwell and company jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two ends in their semifinal match. Niepage countered with a deuce in the third. After the teams traded single points, Colwell, with the hammer, scored three in the sixth end for a 7-3 lead.

The B.C. champs advanced to the playoff round by going 5-1 in their seven-team round-robin pool, tying for first place. Their only blemish was an 8-6 loss to Nova Scotia #2, skipped by Ethan Young of Halifax in the second draw.

READ ALSO: Vernon curler Colwell victorious in Colwood

Colwell defeated Niepage of Coldwater (4-3), Adam Nausler of Yellowknife, NWT (9-1), McDonald of Winnipeg (6-5), Quebec’s Raphael Datry of Saguenay (8-5) and Northern Ontario’s Malcolm O’Bright of North Bay (8-4).

Top four teams in each pool advanced to the championship round. Colwell began with a 7-3 win over Saskatchewan’s Jayden Bindig of Wadena, but then lost 7-6 to McDonald.

Colwell bounced back to scored a 6-4 win over new Brunswick’s Josh Nolan of Moncton, advancing to Sunday’s semifinal match against Purcell.

The loss capped a tremendous year for Colwell, who lost the B.C. Junior Men’s final New Year’s Day at the Vernon Curling Club to eventual Canadian and World champion Tyler Tardi of Langley, then won the B.C. U18 title.

* Two Armstrong teams failed to advance past the group stage at the Canadian Stick Curling Championships in Cornwall and Charlottetown, PEI.

The duo of Al Wejr and Jack Prokopetz, and the husband-wife pair of Derrell and Sheren Sears, were competing in the 48-team Open Division, which saw eight, six-team round-robin pools.

Both Armstrong Curling Club teams finished 3-2 and tied for second, and each lost a tie breaker (shot to the button) to advance as the top-teams in each pool made it to the playoff round.

READ ALSO: Armstrong curlers take championship

Each team started 2-0. Wejr/Prokopetz defeated Manitoba’s Spiring/Spiring team 5-4 and got by Hogan/Hogan of PEI 5-2 before losing a pair, 4-3 to Olson/Olson of Alberta and 3-2 to Kerwin/Power of PEI.

The men finished with a 9-0 romp over Bennett/Densmore of Nova Scotia.

The Searses opened with a 5-1 win over Strand/Strand of Manitoba, and beat the Higginbothams of PEI 5-3 before losing 4-3 to Sheckenberger/Mattis of Ontarior and 7-1 to Gavin/Bernard of PEI. The Sears pair finished with a 3-2 win over Russell/Larsen of Nova Scotia.

None of the teams that the Armstrong rinks played made it to the final four.

The B.C. champions from the Armstrong Curling Club, Tim Smith and Chris Pieper, were unable to attend the national finals after a knee issue struck Smith days before the pair were to leave for the Maritimes.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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