Moose Jaw rink Ackerman wins silver at Canadian U-18 girls curling championship
Even though they were a team making their first appearance at a national curling championship, you’d never know Skylar Ackerman and her Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre rink were raw rookies at the Canadian U-18 girls nationals in St. Andrews, N.B. this past week. Ackerman and her foursome of third Madison Johnson, second Chantal Hoag and lead Samantha McLaren posted a 4-2 round robin record before rolling through the playoffs all the way to the gold medal game where they fell 6-3 to Nova Scotia. “I’m really proud of the girls, we kept our momentum going that we had coming off the win at provincials, we improved each and every game,” Ackerman said. “We just played our hearts out and left it all out there and had lots of success.” Saskatchewan got off to a solid start at the tournament in St. Andrews, N.B., winning their first two games 7-4 over B.C.’s Jaelyn Cotter and 10-2 over Northwest Territories Zoey Walsh. “We didn’t really know what to expect because it was our first nationals, but af- ter our first couple of games we knew we could compete and we were able to keep things going the rest of the way,” Ackerman said. A 6-5 loss to Ontario’s Madelyn Warriner was Ackerman’s first setback at the event, but she responded in style, rolling past P.E.I.’s Lauren Ferguson 7-3 and Yukon’s Bayly Scoffin 15-0 before closing out the round robin with a 4-3 loss to New Brunswick’s Erica Cluff. With her 4-2 record earning her a spot in the double-knockout playoff round, Ackerman scored four in an extra end to take an 8-4 win over Northern Ontario’s Bella Croisier. She followed that up by scoring three in the first and two in the third against B.C. to build a 5-1 lead through three ends, a lead she’d never relinquish on her way to an 8-4 victory. That sent Ackerman through to the medal round, where she ended up in an epic battle with Alberta’s Ryleigh Bakker in their semifinal contest. The two teams were tied through six ends when Bakker picked up a pair in the seventh to go up 5-3. Ackerman managed to get those back in the eighth to second the game to an extra end, where she manufactured a steal to take 6-5 win. “It was a very stressful game,” Ackerman said with laugh. “I think that one was more stressful than the gold medal game because we knew if we won that one we would have a chance to go for a medal and come home with something... it was definitely hard, but we kept trusting in each other’s abilities and pulled off the win.” From there, it was off to the gold medal game against Nova Scotia’s Isabella Ladouceur and chance at national glory. Through the fourth end, things were looking exceptionally good, as after blanking the first three Ackerman used the hammer to pick up two and take a 2-0 edge. Nova Scotia got those points back the very next end to tie the game and then stole two in the sixth to go up 4-2. Ackerman was only able to get one back in the seventh, and Ladouceur tacked on a deuce in the final frame for a 6-3 win. “They played really great and sometimes the game doesn’t go your way, but we’re still pretty happy with silver,” Ackerman said. “It’s a little bittersweet, we would have liked to have won gold for Saskatchewan but we’re still pretty proud to be second-best in the country.” The Moose Jaw foursome will have plenty more cracks at the U-18 title – Ackerman, Johnson and McLaren all have two years of eligibility left in the age class, while Hoag has four.
Members of the U-18 girls curling national silver medalists include Skylar Ackerman (left), Madison Johnson, Chantal Hoag, Samantha McLaren and coach Patrick Ackerman.