“Rochester” will be engraved on the Gazette Newspapers-sponsored John G. Green Trophy for the first time in the 51-year history of the Schenectady Junior Invitational Bonspiel after Hannah Ely’s rink stole two points in the final end and defeated Montreal West 3, 6-3, Sunday at the Schenectady Curling Club.
Rochester, which dropped a 6-3 decision in last year’s finals, prevailed over a field of 24 rinks with curlers hailing from eight states — including Texas and Wisconsin — and Quebec in the popular three-day bonspiel.
Ely, also runner-up in the Grand National Curling Club playdowns for the Junior Nationals the last two years, held a 4-3 lead going into the eighth and final end of a tightly contested final.
Rochester had two rocks closer to center when Montreal West skip Zack Wise chose to promote (bump) one of his own rocks on the front end of the house closer to the button with his final delivery and tie the match. But Wise was slightly off line with his shot, and Ely’s rink clinched with the resulting two points.
“The rock just fell,” said Wise, who noted that the ice conditions were tricky. “It could have gone either way.”
“We had it set up OK,” said Ely of the final play. “We needed that.
While skips normally throw the last two stones in each end, Rochester had Ely call the game, while vice Rebecca Andrew threw last rocks.
“I see the line [that the stones are taking] the whole game, and she sees the weight the whole game,” Ely said. That way, Ely can accurately hold the broom for Andrew’s shots, and the latter is the best judge of the speed of the ice.
“It has worked well for us. It keeps the stress level off of both of us.” Ely said.
Andrew, who is 21 and was competing in her final junior event, made a pivotal shot in the sixth end. Montreal West was sitting four with a guarded shot rock, but Andrew managed to take it out and roll into position for the point that broke a 3-3 tie.
Wise, too, had a key play in the seventh. Rochester had a rock buried behind guards for most of the end, but after peeling away two guards on his first delivery, Wise fit his final shot through a port to remove the counter and blank the end, leaving his team with the hammer (last rock advantage) for the last end.
“That’s the way we played it,” beamed Wise, who reached the semifinals a year ago. He was playing with Mac Philion at vice skip, Daniel Philion at two and James Clark on lead.
Rochester made an impressive run through the brackets, outscoring its first three foes by a combined 26-3. Forming the front end of the rink for Andrew and Ely were Jeremy Unterborn and Becky Vanarsdall, whose home club is Potomac in Maryland.
The first-event prize, which has been in play since 1962, is named for John Garside Green, who was publisher of The Gazette from 1946-64.
The only Schenectady rink to reach the finals, skip Bruce Buccifero’s Schenectady 2 rink, lost to Broomstones 2 (Evan Mullaney), 8-2, in the Munro Medal, the third event.
But a Schenectady skip did come away with an event win. Host club member Donald Mackintosh was skipping the Broomstones 3 entry that bested Nutmeg (Jay Montesano), 8-5, for the Eugene A. Fink Memorial Medal in the second event.
In the fourth event, the Mackintosh Medal for semifinal-round losers in the Green, went to Dominique Jean’s Montreal West 1 rink, which had a pair of four-rock ends en route to a 9-3 victory over
Nashua 2 and skip Emma Annand.