Moose Jaw rink Ack­er­man wins silver at Canadian U-18 girls curl­ing cham­pi­onship

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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.

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