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U SPORTS – ALMATY, Kazakhstan (U SPORTS) – With one game left in the round robin, Kelsey Rocque and her University of Alberta Pandas foursome are headed for the playoff round after notching two more wins and climbing into a tie for first place at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Friday.

Rocque, backed by vice-skip Danielle Schmiemann, second Taylor McDonald, lead Taylore Theroux and coach Garry Coderre, started the day by cruising to a 13-2 over host country Kazakhstan’s Ramina Yunicheva.

“I think it’s very important for new countries (like Kazakhstan) to join our sport,” said Coderre, putting the game into perspective. “It’s tough in this kind of environment because everyone is here in a very competitive atmosphere. I’m very proud of the girls today because they didn’t try to run up the score. They tried to stick with their own game. We knew it was going to be a hard game to play because of the circumstances, but I felt they handled themselves with character, they allowed the opposition to make some shots that they needed to make. On our end, we just kept working on things that are important to us.”

The Canadians followed up with a strong performance in the evening draw, stealing three points in the ninth end to score an 8-2 victory over South Korea’s Eunjung Kim.

“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” said Rocque. “We’ve been playing well the last couple of games and that’s a good sign this late in the week. That team was a really good team, we see them on (the World Curling Tour) a lot. To come away with a win like that against them is pretty big for us.”

“To be honest I was concerned about this game (against South Korea) because of the game we had this morning,” said Coderre. “You sort of get out of your flow and what your systems are. To be able to come back tonight against a very good team and bring our systems and strategies and tactics all back into play, that was impressive. We’re on the right track heading into the playoffs, there’s no doubt about that.”

In the men’s competition, Aaron Squires and his Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks team of vice-skip Richard Krell, second Spencer Nuttall, lead Fraser Reid, alternate Russell Cuddie and coach Jim Waite lost 8-2 to Czech Republic’s Lukas Klima.

Squires led 3-1 at the break, but Klima stole five points in the next two ends to put the game out of reach. 

“We won the draw to the button, which hasn’t happen often this week, forcing us to play from behind in a lot of our games,” said Waite after the loss. “Unfortunately, we were in a position to score two, even three in the first end, and we ended up getting only one. Even in the sixth, we were in a position to score. It’s just the way it’s gone all week for us.”

With the fourth loss, Canada slips to a four-way tie for fifth place in the standings, but that doesn’t mean the playoffs are out of reach.

“We’re still in it,” Waite said. “We had a good team meeting after the game and we’re staying positive. The standings are so close, we win two tomorrow, we could end up in a tie-breaker.”

The round robin wraps up on Friday, with the men going up against Korea’s Sehyeon Seong (Friday 10 p.m. EST) and Norway’s Steffen Walstad (8 a.m. EST). 

The women will face Norway’s Ingvild Skaga (3 a.m. EST) in their last game before heading to playoffs.

About the Winter Universiade 

The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event. 

The Almaty Universiade will feature eight compulsory sports and four optional sports. Compulsory sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, cross country skiing, short track speed skating, figure skating and snowboarding. Optional sports: ski jumping, nordic combined, freestyle skiing and long-track speed skating. 

About U SPORTS 

U SPORTS is the national brand for University Sports in Canada. Every year, over 12,000 student-athletes and 500 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. U SPORTS also provides higher performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit usports.ca or follow us on: 

Twitter: @USPORTSca / @USPORTSIntl

Facebook: @USPORTSCanada / @USPORTSIntl

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For More Information:

Al Cameron
Director, Communication & Media Relations
Curling Canada
Tel: 403-463-5500
acameron@curling.ca

Michel Bélanger
Communications Manager
Team Canada
2017 Winter Universiade
Tel: (+)7747 619 2403
belanger@usports.ca

Ken Saint-Eloy
Manager, Communications
U SPORTS
Tel: 647-871-7595
ksainteloy@usports.ca