The Niagara Knights men's curling team travelled north to Sault St. Marie this weekend for the 2018 OCAA Curling Championships. The Knights captured the OCAA bronze medal with an 8-6 victory over the defending OCAA champion Humber Hawks in the bronze medal final. The team consists of skip Sam Steep (Seaforth), vice Tyler Marshall (McDougall), second Ethan Doig (Egmondville), and lead David Cressman (Cobourg).
"We played really solid this weekend and we could have easily been undefeated in round robin play" said Niagara Knights curling head coach Jordan Thin. "The top four teams are all extremely close, and our men competed at a high level from start to finish."
The tough four day event saw the Knights finish the round robin with a record of 4-2 with victories over Sault College (8-1), St. Clair (8-3), Fleming (8-4), and Humber (6-1). The team was edged out by Fanshawe (5-4), and Mohawk (5-4).
The team entered the medal round as the top seed but faced the defending CCAA Champion Fanshawe Falcons in the semi-finals. The defensive affair saw neither team able to muster anything more than a single point over the course of the game. After a long battle, the difference proved to be Fanshawe's ability to manufacturing scoring chances, the team managed to steal single points in three separate ends to secure the 5-2 victory.
Niagara entered the Bronze medal game and faced the familiar Humber Hawks. The Knights struggled early, falling behind 4-1 after four ends. The team blew the game open in the fifth end scoring a dominant five points to take the 6-4 lead. Humber rallied in the sixth, scoring two points of their own, but with the hammer in the final end, Niagara scored two to secure the 8-6 victory.
"Fanshawe is an outstanding team, and we never really got going against them, but I'm proud of the way tour men's team rebounded when the pressure was on" added Thin.
Two Knights were also named 2018 OCAA all-stars. David Cressman, a second year Landscape Technician student was named an OCAA first-team all-star, while Sam Steep, a second year police foundations student was named to the OCAA all-star second team.
The OCAA Bronze medal is Niagara first men's curling podium finish since 2011. The third place finish earns the Knights a berth in the 2018 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association national championship being hosted but the University of Alberta-Augustana in Ludec, Alberta. The event is being held from March 24-28 at the Leduc Recreation Centre.