Sunday, February 11th saw Niagara Knights women's curling crowned 2018 OCAA Champions, as the team defeated the Fanshawe Falcons 10-7 in an extra end to capture the gold medal at the Community First Curling Club in Sault St. Marie, Ontario. The team consists of skip Chelsea Brandwood (Beamsville), vice Courtney Smith (St. Catharines), second Renee Boyce (St. Catharines), lead Brooke Fairbanks (Thorold), and lead Andrea Miettinen (Welland). The Knights are coached by head coach Jordan Thin and Assistant Coach Lorelle Weavers.
"We played strong and steady from start to finish this weekend" said Niagara Knights curling head coach Jordan Thin. "The team set lofty goals entering this season. To win a championship, and I'm so happy that they were able to accomplish them."
The four day event saw the Knights finish round robin play with a record of 4-1. The team defeated, St. Clair (7-2), Mohawk (5-2), Fleming (7-2), and Fanshawe (4-3). The lone blemish came at the Hands of the Humber Hawks (6-5) after the Hawks stole a point in the final end to edge out the victory.
The Knights advanced as the top seed into the medal round, where they got their revenge on the Hawks in the form of an 8-7 victory in the championship semi-finals. The back-and-forth affair saw the teams trade single, double, and even three point ends, before the Knights secured the one point victory in an extra end.
In the gold medal game the Knights struggled early. After only managing a single with the hammer to open the finals, the Knights gave up four points in the second end. Niagara rang off back-to-back singles in the third and fourth ends, before notching a crucial four points of their own in the fifth end.
Fanshawe recorded three straight singles to force an extra end, but the Knights played a flawless final frame, scoring three and winning Niagara College's fourth OCAA Curling Championship, and first since 2013.
"We started off really tough in the final. We went down early, but managed to claw back and really turn things around" continued Thin. "The team showed real composure when it counted and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do at Nationals."
Brandwood, a fourth year native of Beamsville, is a Grimsby Secondary School graduate who is enrolled in the Niagara College Human Resources program. While Boyce is in her second season with the Knights. The former Sir Winston Churchill standout is currently enrolled in the police foundations program.
The win sees the Knights advance to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association national championship being hosted by the University of Alberta-Augustana in Leduc, Alberta at the Leduc Recreation Centre. The event is being held from March 24-28.