MEDICINE HAT, AB – Of the 18 rinks that battled at the U18 Southern Playdowns at the Medicine Hat Curling Club, just one were playing with home ice advantage.
It was a big weekend for Connor Zeidell and his Medicine Hat-based rink, as they looked to put on a show in front of friends and family.
Zeidell started off with a 7-6 victory in the ‘A’ bracket over Calgary’s Zane McLeod rink, but it was sledding after that game for the Medicine Hat group.
Dropping a 9-3 decision to the Desmond Young rink in the ‘A’ semi-finals and a 7-1 loss to Josh Kroker out of Lethbridge, Zeidell was forced to face McLeod again an elimination game in the ‘C’ bracket.
Trailing 3-2 after six ends, the McLeod rink was able to fight back with the hammer and score a pair in the seventh to take the lead.
Zeidell was able to execute a draw in the eighth to send the match into extra ends, but McLeod was able to answer back with a single of his own in the ninth end to eliminate Zeidell with a 5-4 win.
While saying the loss stings, Zeidell said he was glad they were able to make a big shot in the eighth to force a deciding end.
“We played it pretty well I feel,” said Zeidell. “They just made a few more shots than us in that last end. They got last rock, so that’s what it came down to.”
Third Ayden Whittmire added they just weren’t able to execute as well in the extra end, compared to the rest of the game.
“We’ve had a bunch of good games against that team this year,” said Whittmire. “This time, they just made a couple more than we did and they came out on top.”
Throughout the bonspiel, the Zeidell team had plenty of fans on hand from Medicine Hat and Lethbridge to support the team’s quest for a provincial berth.
The skip said playing at home was a special feeling for all members of the team.
“We know the ice, we know all our fans are going to be here, and all the support that we need,” said Zeidell. “We know that we can play well here.”
While the season may be over for Zeidell and his teammates, he hopes to have the team back playing together next winter.
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