Kenora Curling Club skip Wayne Ficek throws a stone during his team's series win in the Northern Ontario Provincial Wheelchair Curling Championships on Saturday. BRANDON LOGAN/Daily Miner and News
After falling behind 6-3 in the fifth end of Game 2, Ficek blanked the sixth end and took one in the seventh end to bring the team within two points going into the final end. From there, magic happened and the Kenora rink pulled off an unlikely comeback to win 7-6.
“Coming home, we just decided to play it and get as many rocks in play as we can,” Ficek recalled. “We put up a centre guard and it was close to the house and they weren’t able to hit it, then we were able to put up another guard and then we came in around one.”
From there, Team Sonego missed a few shots and Ficek’s rink continued to pile the stones in play. With Sonego holding the last rock and a chance to extend the series, things fell into place for the home side.
“His last shot we were lying three and it was a wide open hit to take the second shot rock and that would have only gave us one (point) and they would have won,” Ficek explained. “If they hit and rolled out, we would have got two and tied and went to an extra end. Instead, he ended up getting up a little inside and hit our red rock in the 12 foot and moved it a few inches into the house, so we still ended up lying three and ended up winning.”
Ficek, who skips team, has been shooting third and credited Chester Draper’s play at fourth for a big reason the team won. He also noted great shots by Denise Miault at the lead position and Lorin Gan at second helped the comeback as well.
“I have to credit the front end during the last end, because the played perfectly,” Ficek noted. “They put their rocks in perfect spots.
Up next for the team is a two-month break before the nationals in Boucherville, Que., in April.
“It’s thrilling,” coach Randy Ronnebeck said. “Part of Wayne’s team have been there a few times quite a few years ago, but it’s the first time for me since I started working with them.”
It’s the team’s first trip to nationals since 2011 and Ficek has high expectations for the team.
“It’s going to be nice to be back after a three year miss, and I think we learned a lot in the first three years (2009-11) we went there and hopefully we can come into it with a pretty good perspective on making a run,” he said. “We’ll always have the expectation to at least try to make the playoffs. That’s the goal. Go to the round robin and get into a situation where you’re playing in one of the top four spots.”
As for now, the team is just going to savour their provincial win before the hard work really gets started.