The UNB Varsity Reds closed out the 2017-18 sports season on a high note as the men’s curling picked up a bronze medal in the final day of the U Cup in Leduc, Alberta.
The result came on Wednesday afternoon as the V-Reds, led by first year skip Jack Smeltzer, defeated the Waterloo Warriors by a score of 7-5 in the tournaments’ consolation game.
The game saw UNB rebound from an early 3-0 deficit after the third end, as they narrowed the score at 3-2 in the fourth before adding another two points in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead—their first lead of the day.
The next three ends would see the Varsity Reds and Warriors trade points as Waterloo came back to tie the game twice, closing out the ninth end of the back-and-forth game with the score evened up at 5-5.
The V-Reds saved their best for the tenth and final end of the game, making the most of their last rock advantage to score two more points and take home a 7-5 win.
The bronze medal winning performance came just one day after UNB was defeated in their semifinal matchup against the Alberta Golden Bears by a final score of 9-3 in a game that saw the Varsity Reds fail to come back after falling behind 6-0 through the first six ends.
The Golden Bears would go on to win the gold medal, defeating the Winnipeg Wesmen 6-4. They have now earned the right to represent Canada at the 2019 Winter Universiade which will be held next March in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
UNB earned their spot in the semifinals after finishing third in tournament standings with a 4-3 record through their seven round robin games.
The team’s tournament got off to a rocky start as they dropped their opening game to the Brock Badgers by a score of 11-6 through nine ends. However, they quickly rebounded later the same day by defeating the Wesmen 6-4 in a tightly contested game.
The Varsity Reds biggest win of the round robin portion of the tournament would come the next day when they defeated the eventual champion Golden Bears 7-6 through ten ends in another dramatic, evenly matched game where UNB managed to take the lead several times only to see Alberta repeatedly claw their way back to tie the score.
The Varsity Reds performances were somewhat uneven for the remainder of the tournament’s opening round as they alternated between wins and loses in their final four games, defeating the Regina Cougars and the Dalhousie Tigers while dropping their matchups against Waterloo and the Ryerson Rams.