This matched began as a defensive showdown with each team trading stones early on. While the Baby Broomers certainly had opportunities to pull close with the Osprey, the pesky defensive tactics displayed by the Osprey in conjunction with an opportunistic offense held the Broomers at bay and sent the Osprey soaring into the Championship match.
#10 Ursus Horribillis vs. #11 Fire & Broomstone
Each of these upset minded teams have been riding a two month long hot streak extending back into the final weeks of the regular season. And as one would expect, this match took off to a highly competitive start. However by the third end Fire and Broomstone had quietly advanced to a 4-0 lead before Ursus Horribillis could register their first point. Ursus fought back valiantly and had their chances to bring things all square going into the final end. But some exceptional final stones by Fire and Broom in the fifth end followed by excellent defense on the final end ultimately tipped the balance and left Ursus to play for third place as Fire and Broomstone maintained their hot hand into the Championship match.
Competitive League Third Place Match:
#8 Baby Broomers vs. #10 Ursus Horribillis
These two veteran teams squared off during the regular season with the Baby Broomers sweeping their way to a close victory. Early on it appeared as though the Broomers would make it a repeat victory by getting out to an early lead. However Ursus Horribillis regained their hot hand late, bringing things all square in the sixth end and initiating a draw to the button. With a near perfect button shot, skip Dave Strobel claimed the third place bragging rights for Ursus Horrbillis.
Competitive League Championship Match:
#4 Osprey vs. #11 Fire & Broomstone
This championship match brought two red hot teams together on Sheet B in what certainly proved to be an exceptional match. The upstart rookies of Fire and Broomstone, who have learned to balance equal parts skilled curling with at times, admitted luck, battled the tenacious Osprey offense (one of the highest scoring teams in the Competitive League) who dominated the playoffs with meticulously planned defense through six ends. Although the Osprey flew out to an early lead, some key stones from Fire and Broomstone certainly kept things close. Yet their luck and hot stones ultimately ran cold as the Osprey found themselves to an insurmountable lead and claimed their first league championship 7-2!
#1 Stones of Anarchy vs. #5 Broom On
Billed as the Game of The Week, this match did not disappoint anyone fortunate to be observing a back and forth battle. After completing a scoreless fifth end, this match came down to the final two stones. Stones of Anarchy masterfully navigated their final shot to be nestled into the red circle just to the right of the button. But their stone was not completely protected and possessing the hammer, Broom On had one last chance to break the tie and move on to the championship match. Upon release they knew it would be a good stone. It had both the weight and trajectory to send them to victory. But just past the hogline it began to fall off to the right and by fractions of an inch the hammer missed its target and the #1 seed Stones of Anarchy were lifted to the Championship round.
#2 Lairiat Loopers vs. #11 Seven Stones
Having largely dominated their competition this season, many would expect little else from the #2 Lairiat Loopers as they battled the Recreational League Cinderella story #11 Seven Stones. But this can certainly not be said for curling, especially on such a cruel mistress that our ice can be on any given night. The Lairiat Loopers were mystified by the ice early on and fraught with a large deficit by the latter ends (courtesy of a four or five stone end from Seven Stones) as Seven Stones pulled off the upset and claimed their hard earned spot in the Championship round.
Recreational League Third Place:
#2 Lairiat Loopers vs. #5 Broom On
Unfortunately this match was not played. The Lairiat Loopers stuck around and claimed bragging right to third place in the Recreational League.
Recreational League Championship Match:
#1 Stones of Anarchy vs. #11 Seven Stones
I personally did not witness much of this match. Though from what action I did observe one could ascertain that Cinderella’s slider, which Seven Stones had worn throughout the playoffs, fell off somewhere along the way with Stones of Anarchy proving too tough an opponent to upset. Our congratulation to #1 Stones of Anarchy for winning both the regular season title and the Recreational League Championship (which is probably the coolest trophy around).
And so ends the 2016-2017 Winter League of the Missoula Curling Club. I hope everyone had a fun time on the ice this year and will come back in the fall for another round of league curling. In the meantime, don’t forget about our Spring League (sign up here…a killer deal and I hear there are still spots available) as well as the various bonspiels nearby and abroad. Think you’re too junior to compete in a bonspiel? Well come on out to the Big Sky Bonspiel and spend a few hours volunteering. You’ll not only qualify for your club volunteer rebate (4 hours will net you $20) but you’ll also see what the fun is all about and hopefully be inspired to enter into future bonspiels!
Until next season or whenever we curl again, I bid you all good curling and a great day!