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Saskatchewan teams back in win column at Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship

Sask 1 moves into tie for first place with win over Newfoundland, Sask 2 closes in on .500 with win over Ontario 2

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- It was a good showing for both Saskatchewan teams at the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship on Thursday afternoon at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

Both Gil Dash and Rod Pederson picked up wins with their respective Sask 1 and 2 rinks, with Sask 1 taking a 9-2 victory over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Doug Dean and Sask 2 defeating Ontario 2’s Chris Rees 9-8.

Dash, third Marie Wright, second Moose Gibson and lead Sheryl Pederson improved to 6-1 with the win and are now tied for first place with Newfoundland in addition to holding the tiebreaker if the teams remain atop the standings.

The win came on the heels of a tough loss the night before, as Sask 1 surrendered five points over the final two ends to drop a 7-5 decision to Manitoba’s Dennis Thiessen.

“We were pretty frustrated last night, so it was important to come back out and play well, especially in an important game,” said Wright, who alongside Dash is shooting for her fifth Canadian title. “We knew that Newfoundland was going to be a tough team, so this helps with our confidence when it comes to ice reading and communication.”

Dash and crew took a 3-0 lead out of the second end against Dean and led 6-1 through five before putting up a three-ender in the seventh to bring things to an early close.

With three draws remaining, a playoff spot is a distinct possibility for the defending champions, making winning out heading into the playoffs the basic goal.

“Three more wins to take us into Saturday will be beautiful,” Wright said with a grin.

Pederson, third Pete Andrews, second Mark Kennedy, lead Tara-Lee Hess and lead Zahra Ehsani improve to 3-5 with their win and while they might not have a shot at a playoff spot, the fact they had a chance to finish .500 in what’s the first wheelchair curling experience for four members of the team is a solid showing in its own right.

“Everyone has been asking how long have these people been curling, and it’s late-October, early-November when they started and they can’t believe it, that’s how good they are,” lauded Pederson, the only veteran player on their rink. “They’re building for next year and they’re curling well, a lot of people are amazed by them. That’s what it’s all about.”

Sask 2 got off to a great start against Rees, picking up a deuce in the first end and leading 4-0 through three. Ontario got all that back in the fourth, though, and stole two more in the fifth to lead 6-4.

That could have been the death kneel for their chances in that game, but Pederson picked up three in the sixth to regain the lead and stole another two in the seventh to make it a 9-6 lead coming home.

“We just said, ‘they got four, but we’re just tied now and it’s a brand-new game and let's just keep going’,” Pederson said of how his rink got back on track so quickly. “They made shots and played absolutely fantastic.”

Other results from Draw 8 saw Ontario 1’s Doug Morris (4-3) take a 7-3 victory over New Brunswick’s Mike Fitzgerald (0-7), B.C.’s Gerry Austgarden (5-2) take an 8-7 win Alberta 2’s Don Kuchylema (3-3) and Thiessen (5-2) defeat Alberta 1’s Martin Purvis (2-6) 5-4.

Three draws remain in the round robin, with the top three teams making the playoffs. Second and third place with face-off in the semifinal at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by the championship game at 2:30 p.m.

Be sure to keep an eye on for all the up-to-date scores and standings.

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