Garnett’s rink makes a run at provincials, picks up experience

By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter

There is something to be said for showing well at your first provincial tournament as a skip.
Strathmore’s Scott Garnett missed out on the playoff rounds and a chance to play live on Sportsnet by a couple ends at the 2018 Boston Pizza Cup.
Curlers from all over Alberta were vying for a chance to qualify for the Tim Hortons Brier. Garnett, skipping his own team for the first time, came up just short, finishing 3-3 in the tournament that wrapped up Feb. 4 at Grant Fuhr Arena in Spruce Grove.
“It’s always an amazing time any chance you get to compete at provincials. Being in the big rink with four sheets of ice and playing in front of huge crowds with TV cameras all around was pretty fun,” said Garnett.
A triple-knockout tournament, the Garnett rink opened the five-day competition with an 8-4 loss to the Daylan Vavrek rink after giving up three points in the ninth end.
“There weren’t too many shots I wish I could take back from the weekend, but there was a shot in the ninth end that picked at the hog line. It should have been two points for us to put us up one. Instead it allowed them to take three points and jump into the driver’s seat,” said Garnett.
Garnett and the rest of his Calgarian rink had to sit on that decision and the tough loss for almost 36 hours before they hit the pebbled ice once again.
The loss bumped him down to the B event, where he was able to pick up a 9-6 win over the Aaron Sluchinski rink Feb. 1. In the B quarterfinals, Garnett was handed his second loss on the weekend 5-3 to the Ted Appleman rink.
In the C bracket, Garnett found his groove and knocked off the Hutchings rink 9-7 and the Thomas Usselman rink 8-5 Feb. 2.
“We had some jitters early in the tournament, but we were able to work through them as a team,” said Garnett. “We could have lost our first three games and got sent packing, but we stuck around for a little bit, played in six games and made a bit of a name for ourselves.”
Playing in the final qualifying spot for the playoffs, the Garnett rink took on Charley Thomas’ team. Thomas has a studded resume, with gold medals nationally and internationally in the junior circuit.
Garnett trailed 1-0 after the first end but picked up single points in the third and fourth end, and two more in the eighth to grab a 4-3 lead. But once again, Garnett got burnt in the ninth when he allowed three points to give Thomas a commanding lead late, one that Thomas held onto in the 6-5 decision.
“The goal was always to make the playoffs. Coming in, we were ranked eighth out of 12, and we left in fifth place. Charley was probably one of the guys that was favoured to take the title this year, so to go down to the last end against him was pretty good,” said Garnett.
With Garnett on the sidelines, Brendan Bottcher repeated as champion and will represent Alberta at the Tim Hortons Brier.
It’s back to the drawing board for Garnett and his team of Tyler Lautner, Craig Bourgonje and Matt McDonald as they prepare for another run at the Cup and Brier next year.
“Playing against some of the top teams in Canada and hanging in with them until the last rock will make us hungry to compete again next year with another shot at it,” Garnett. “All things considered, it was a great week of competition.”