Islanders are coming home with gold and silver medals from international curling competitions in Norway.
Vice-skip Ian MacAulay of Souris and second Morgan Currie of Summerside are members of the Canadian squad that won gold at the world senior men’s championship on Saturday. Charlottetown’s Brett Gallant and Winnipeg’s Jocelyn Peterman lost 6-5 to Sweden in the gold medal game of the mixed doubles championship.
The Bryan Cochrane-skipped senior squad, which also includes lead Ken Sullivan, alternate Paul Adams and coach Bill Tschirhart, defeated Scotland’s David Smith 7-5 in an extra end to capture gold.
“Being a world champion has got a pretty good ring to it,” MacAulay said in an interview conducted by his son Jeremy MacAulay in Norway for The Guardian. “Getting through Canada in curling is quite a feat and to win the worlds is a bigger feat again.”
Currie called it an unforgettable, one-of-a kind, amazing experience.
“When I started curling in 1977, I never dreamt this was possible,” he said. “And going through this with Mr. MacAulay, here, a fellow Islander, was the most important part of all for me.”
The three medals won on Saturday also come from each of Prince Edward Island’s three counties.
“We also have the whole Island covered in a way because (MacAulay is) kind of east and I’m kind of west, so it’s a total accomplishment for Prince Edward Island geographically,” Currie said.
Canada opened the scoring with a single in the first. After a blanked second end, Scotland took the lead by scoring two in the third. The teams traded deuces the next two ends before Canada scored two more in the seventh to take a 5-4 advantage. Scotland picked up a single in the eighth to force an extra end.
Scotland applied the pressure to Canada in the extra end, leaving Cochrane with a tough long angle raise to win it.
“I was a little afraid we missed the shot halfway down the sheet,” MacAulay said. “It had to curl about half an inch from halfway down the sheet to the rock itself. At the hog line I knew it was really, really close.”
Cochane made the shot leaving Canada’s two yellow stones to count for the victory.
“That was a very, very difficult shot,” MacAulay said. “It was very precise. It had to be within plus or minus a millimetre to make that shot.”
While Currie has complete trust in his teammates, he was contemplating what he would do sweeping if the final shot was tight.
“I was pretty wired, pretty ready,” he said. “I was worried I was going to snap the broom but fortunately I didn't have to do too much work and Ian was right on with the call.”
Canada went 6-0 in the preliminary round, defeated Australia 7-2 in the quarter-final and Denmark 7-4 in the semifinal.
Cochrane and MacAulay have curled on and off together for 30 years. Sullivan and Cochrane have been teammates on and off again since the 1980s. Currie joined the squad two years ago after MacAulay asked if he was interested in joining the rink, which plays out of the Russell Curling Club in Russell, Ont., near Ottawa.
“What makes us a strong team is we’re united as one,” MacAulay said. “There’s no drama. We all back each other up, we trust each other, and we have a lot of fun off the ice.”
“We all see the game the same way and we’re equally intense, but we also know how to have fun,” Currie added, “so it was a real pleasure to join these three guys.”
Canada opened the mixed doubles championship game with a single in the first end before Sweden tied it with one in the second. Sweden stole singles in the next two ends to take a 3-1 lead to the fifth.
Canada, which was coached by coach Jeff Stoughton, responded with two in the fifth to tie it. The teams traded deuces the next two ends and Sweden scored one in the eighth to win it.
“They played really well,” Gallant said of Olympic gold-medallist Anna Hasselborg and three-time world men’s champion Oskar Eriksson in an interview with Curling Canada. “I myself couldn’t quite get the line on a few of my shots and gave them some openings.”
“We had a lot of fun. We were happy with how we played,” Peterman told Curling Canada. “It’s obviously not the finish we were hoping for, but we had a good week.”
The 2020 championship will be held in Kelowna, B.C.