Goncin leads team to bronze-medal win

February 18, 2011

Saskatchewan won the bronze medal in wheelchair basketball Thursday at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax.

Saskatchewan edged Manitoba 58-56 in the third-place game. Nik Goncin of Regina powered Saskatchewan to victory with 35 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Adam James Bryant of Regina added 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

Bryant made two key free throws down the stretch, and Goncin iced the victory with a critical steal in the final seconds.

"It was awesome,'' Goncin, 19, said from Halifax. "I couldn't have asked for a better game. The team was awesome.''

And the game was nerve-racking. "The last three minutes seemed like an entire game,'' said Goncin, who took up wheelchair basketball four years ago after having a leg amputated due to cancer.

Naturally, Goncin would have preferred to be playing for a gold medal, as opposed to the bronze, on Thursday. Regardless, the third-place final provided a memorable punctuation mark to the Games for the members of Saskatchewan's wheelchair basketball team.

"It's nice to go home with a win,'' Goncin said. "That's the highlight.''

In other Saskatchewan results on Thursday:

Gymnastics: Curtis Graves of Saskatoon won two medals -gold in parallel bars and bronze in rings. He was Saskatchewan's flagbearer at the opening ceremonies. In women's gymnastics, Charlie Wright of Saskatoon was seventh on the balance beam, one spot ahead of Regina's Karisa Groff.

Ringette: Ontario defeated Saskatchewan 5-2 in a semifinal on Thursday. Stephanie Zimmer and Alysha McEachern -both of Regina -scored for Saskatchewan, which is to play in today's bronze-medal game against Quebec.

Hockey: In men's hockey, Saskatchewan blanked New Brunswick 4-0. Craig Leverton of Debden led Saskatchewan with two goals. Zac Mackay of Swift Current and Tyson Predinchuk of Regina had singles. Brett Lewchuk of Saskatoon made 24 saves for the shutout. Saskatchewan is to play Manitoba for fifth place today.

Speedskating: Madeleine Yager of Saskatoon was 12th in the women's super 1,500metre short-track event. Other Saskatchewanians in that race were Stephanie Kendall of Moose Jaw (24th), Katie Kokotailo Waterer of Saskatoon (27th), Morgan Boutin of Saskatoon (31st) and Taylor Leugner of Regina (38th). In the men's super 1,500m, Michael Marsh of Saskatoon was 31st, Keegan Christ of Regina was 33rd, Lucas Morin of Saskatoon was 34th, Jesse Slusar of Nipawin was 35th, and Alex Horst of Regina was 38th.

Target shooting: Jeremy Gyoerick of Prince Albert was fourth in male individual air pistol -three spots ahead of Drew Nevland of Birch Hills. In female individual air pistol, Tasha Chester of Prince Albert was 15th. Her sister, Sasha, was 17th.

Curling: Saskatchewan's women's curling team, skipped by Regina's Rae-Ann Williamson, defeated Quebec 7-4. The match was the Saskatchewan team's last at the Games. Saskatchewan's final placing could not be confirmed at press time.

Squash: Saskatchewan blanked Nova Scotia 4-0 to finish seventh in men's squash. A 4-0 victory over the Yukon enabled Saskatchewan's women's team to finish ninth.

Freestyle skiing: Liam Brandt Bundschuh of Saskatoon was 20th in moguls. Nolan Merryweather of Lloydminster was 23rd. Aidan Merryweather, also of Lloydminster, was 29th.

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