Lakeland's Justin Bracken, of Hudson Bay, takes aim in the male sprint event on Thursday at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club. Competing in his first biathalon race, Bracken took home the silver medal in the juvenile division as the field of skiiers endured adverse weather conditions. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp
The second half of the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games kicked off on Thursday.
Lakeland mined medals in biathlon and snowboarding as preliminary play in other events wrapped up.
Bracken takes silver in biathlon debut
Skiing in his first biathlon race, Lakeland‚Äôs Justin Bracken of Hudson Bay took home a silver medal in the juvenile male sprint on Thursday at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club.
After the event was delayed about an hour due to adverse weather conditions, a trio of skiers represented Lakeland as the three-day event kicked off.
As he eagerly awaited the event‚Äôs results, Lakeland coach Chris Fettig said he was impressed with Bracken‚Äôs premier performance.
‚ÄúHe passed people who went out in front of him,‚ÄĚ Fettig said, adding he was equally pleased with the skiing of Lakeland junior males Ryan Potts and Mitchell Jones. ‚ÄúRyan was maybe the fastest skier out there, his shooting was real good and I think there was only one miss for all three guys.‚ÄĚ
Potts, an experienced cross-country skier who took home silver and bronze medals in a pair of Games cross-country events, finished fourth overall with a time of 12:50. Jones was right behind his teammate, placing fifth with a time of 14:04.
With the temperature dropping to nearly -18 in Prince Albert on Thursday, Fettig said the frigid weather had an adverse effect on the course, slowing down the entire field.
‚ÄúWhen it‚Äôs cold, the snow is slower so it means longer skiing,‚ÄĚ he explained. ‚ÄúIt just slows things down for everybody.‚ÄĚ
Fettig added that the cold weather also has a slight effect on the event‚Äôs shooting aspect.
‚ÄúCold fingers can definitely make shooting a little more difficult,‚ÄĚ Fettig said. ‚ÄúIf you‚Äôve got cold fingers, you don‚Äôt have that feel on the trigger.‚ÄĚ
With Bracken‚Äôs silver-medal winning time of 13:24, Lakeland hopes to carry the momentum from Thursday‚Äôs success into the mass start event on Friday.
The biathlon event consists of two types of competitions. Thursday‚Äôs sprint had athletes shooting twice while skiing three one-km loops while the mass start on Friday will have them skiing four loops and shooting three times.
‚ÄúIt will be hectic,‚ÄĚ Fettig said of the upcoming mass start event where skiers are seeded according to the sprint‚Äôs results. ‚ÄúCoaches will have to be on the ball.‚ÄĚ
The mass start event kicks off on Friday with the juveniles at 10 a.m., followed by the juniors at 11 a.m. at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club.
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Lakeland continues to shuffle lines as girls drop second game
After dropping their first two games in pool play, the Lakeland girl‚Äôs hockey team will look to bounce back against Saskatoon on Friday.
Following a 4-1 loss to South East on Wednesday, Lakeland fell 6-4 to Prairie Central on Thursday, but coach Jean Fauchon has seen lots of positives in the tournament so far.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre a hard-working team, we have strong big defencemen,‚ÄĚ Fauchon said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got to get more shots on net, other than that, goaltending is strong, we just need more offence.‚ÄĚ
With the tournament fielding teams of girls from two different bantam age groups, co-coach Sean Fauchon said the group is building chemistry, despite limited preparation time.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a good group of girls,‚ÄĚ Sean said. ‚ÄúUsually we‚Äôre allowed four hours of practice after you pick your team, but this year there were no practices allowed so we couldn‚Äôt see who could play with who.‚ÄĚ
As the team melds together, the pair of coaches continue to shuffle the lines.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre switching the lines up and giving everybody an equal chance to showcase what they can do and play with different people.‚ÄĚ Jean said.
The Lakeland girls are back in action on Friday, wrapping up pool play with a tilt against Saskatoon at 11:30 a.m. at the Dave G. Steuart Arena.
With files from Tyler Clark
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McDougall strikes gold as snowboarding makes its debut
Prince Albert‚Äôs own Reece McDougall struck gold on Thursday as the Game‚Äôs inaugural snowboarding event kicked off at Little Red River Park.
‚ÄúIt was fun,‚ÄĚ McDougall said of winning the U17 slope style event . ‚ÄúI‚Äôve been preparing for this particular run for about a month.‚ÄĚ
The six-member team consisting of four males and a pair of females from Prince Albert, Christopher Lake and Melfort, have been training at Little Red over the last six weeks, said Lakeland coach Adam Balon.
Snowboarding is appearing in the Saskatchewan Winter Games for the first time and Lakeland coach Adam Balon said the course at Little Red, consisting of a series of jumps and rails, is ‚Äúconstantly evolving.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre just starting to feel out the course and put some runs together,‚ÄĚ said Balon who also serves as venue chairmen. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm super proud of our local crew and we have a very strong field of athletes. I look forward to some medals and great riding this week.‚ÄĚ
McDougall and the rest of the Lakeland team will look to add to their medal collection on Friday as the slope style event trudges on before the big air competition commences on Saturday.
Snowboarding action on Friday kicks off with preliminary runs at 10:30 a.m. at Little Red River Park.
With files from Tyler Clark
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Though eliminated from gold medal contention on Thursday, the Lakeland badminton team still has the bronze squarely in their sights.
After going 1-1 in pool play on Thursday, beating North 6-3 but falling to Saskatoon 5-4, Lakeland must now win their final two pool matches against South East and Rivers West to make it to the bronze medal match on Saturday.
Lakeland coach Mark Arcand said his team, who train with some of the members of Sasktoon, are simply having fun playing in Carlton Comprehensive High School‚Äôs brand new gym.
‚ÄúThe kids love it,‚ÄĚ Arcand said adding the sentiment of nearly all other coaches at the Games, that the 2014 edition has been a massive success. ‚ÄúEverything is well run and going smooth, hats off to the host and the Saskatchewan Badminton Association.‚ÄĚ
Although dropping a game on Thursday, Arcand said competition was tight as the team looks forward to wrapping up pool play on Friday and entering finals.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got a strong contingent of girls,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúAs long as we win both matches on Friday we can go onto the bronze medal game on Saturday. It‚Äôs close, good competition for the kids.‚ÄĚ
Lakeland resume pool play on Friday, taking on South East at 9 a.m. before they meet Rivers West at 12 a.m. in Carlton Comprehensive High School‚Äôs new gym.
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2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games schedule for Friday, Feb. 21
Badminton at Carlton Comprehensive High School
9:00 South West vs. Prairie Central
9:00 Lakeland vs. South East
9:00 Regina vs. Parkland
12:00 Saskatoon vs. North
12:00 Lakeland vs. Rivers West
17:00 4th Pool A vs. 4th Pool B
17:00 3rd Pool A vs. 3rd Pool B
Biathlon at Prince Albert Golf and Country Club
10:00 Mass Start Juvenile Girls
10:30 Mass Start Juvenile Boys
11:00 Mass Start Junior Girls
11:30 Mass Start Junior Boys
12:30 Medal Presentations
Gymnastics at Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club
T&T, RG INDIVIDUAL ALL AROUND
10:30 Rhythmic Individual All Around Competition
10:30 Tramp & Tumbling Individual All Around Competition
13:30 All Around Awards - RG & TTG
MAG, WAG INDIVIDUAL ALL AROUND
15:00 Men's Individual All Around Competition
15:00 Women's Individual All Around Competition
18:00 All Around Awards - MAG & WAG
Female hockey at Dave G. Steuart and Kinsmen Arenas
11:30 Game #9 Lakeland (8) vs Saskatoon (6) Dave G. Steuart
17:00 Game #10 South West (3) vs Parkland Valley (4) Kinsmen Arena
17:00 Game # 11 Prairie Central (5) vs Southeast (1) Dave G. Steuart
19:30 Game #12 Regina (2) vs Rivers West (7) Kinsmen Arena
Snowboarding at Little Red River Park
10:30 Preliminary Runs - All Competitors
14:00 11-13 Boys&Girls Finals
15:00 14-16 Boys&Girls Finals
15:30 Medals Presentation
Speed Skating at the Art Hauser Centre
9:45 200 meter heats ‚Äď Male
10:00 200 meter heats ‚Äď Female
10:30 200 meter finals ‚Äď Male
10:45 200 meter finals ‚Äď Female
13:00 3000 meter super finals ‚ÄďMale
13:30 3000 meter super finals‚Äď Female
14:15 2000 meter relay heats - Male
Table Tennis at Alfred Jenkins Field House
8:30 Final Round - Cadet Boy & Girl Teams
13:00 Final Round - Junior Boy & Junior Girl Teams
18:00 Cadet Boy & Cadet Girl Singles
Wrestling at Carlton Comprehensive High School
8:30 (1) Pool A1 vs Pool B2
8:30 (2) Pool A2 vs Pool B1
10:00 (3) Pool A3 vs Pool B4
10:00 (4) Pool A4 vs Pool B3
11:30 (5th/6th Place) Winner 3 vs Winner 4
11:30 (7th/8th Place) Loser 3 vs Loser 4
13:00 If A5 Team has never wrestled 8th place Team they can challenge for 8th Place
13:00 (Bronze) Loser 1 vs Loser 2
14:30 (Gold) Winner 1 vs Winner 2