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Nova Scotia in the hunt at Juniors

While the undefeated Alberta and Quebec men and Alberta women enjoyed a Monday morning bye at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Napanee, the Nova Scotia teams closed some ground on the leaders in Draw 7.

NS skip Emily Dwyer (photo: Mike Fitzpatrick)

On the women’s side, Emily Dwyer of Halifax beat Saskatchewan’s Kristen Streifel of Saskatoon, 7-2 to move into a four-way tie for second with a 3-1 mark, joining New Brunswick (Jennifer Armstrong of Rothesay), a 13-5 winner over Northwest Territories, Manitoba (Shannon Birchard of Winnipeg), who defeated Prince Edward Island, 5-3 and idle British Columbia (Kesa Van Osch of Nanaimo). Alberta’s Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer is 4-0.

On the men’s side, Stuart Thompson’s Halifax Mayflower team won a wild one, 10-6 over Saskatchewan’s Brady Scharback, stealing two in the eighth end and four in the ninth for a shocking 10-6 decision.

The victory also moved the Nova Scotia men to 3-1, now tied with Manitoba (Kyle Doering of Winnipeg) and Northern Ontario (Brennan Wark of Thunder Bay), a game back of Alberta (Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton) and Quebec (Félix Asselin of Montreal), both at 4-0.

Northern Ontario suffered its first loss Monday morning, a 7-5 setback, after Yukon’s Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse counted four in the 10th end, while Manitoba took three in the 10th end to beat Prince Edward Island, 8-5.

“We’re expecting to win,” said the 19-year-old Thompson, an Engineering student at Saint Mary’s University. “We played some of the field in Ottawa (JSI OVCA Junior Superspiel) a couple of months ago and came second (to Northern Ontario’s Brennan Wark), so we know roughly what the country’s like.

This is Thompson’s second appearance at the national championship. Last year, he played second for his brother Kendal, finishing with a 7-5 mark in Calgary.

“We’ve had one tough loss here (7-4 to Northern Ontario). I had a chance for two in the last to go to an extra end and just missed it. But we’re just improving with every game now.

“I played with my brother for a long time. His strategy was good. I learned from him. Absolutely, the experience helps. It’s a little different playing in an Arena. But I like it. It adds a little bit of fire in the belly. I love the Arena ice, the whole feel of it. The club ice is nice but it’s a little slower.

On his ‘promotion’ from second to skip this year, “Absolutely, I felt I could take over skipping duties. I was very excited about it.”

While Stuart is here, Kendal will be playing second for Ian Juurlink in the upcoming Nova Scotia men’s championship in Bridgewater, trying to earn a trip to the Tim Hortons Brier in Saskatoon.

In the other games, Yukon’s Sarah Koltun of Whitehorse improved to 2-2 with a 7-5 decision over Northern Ontario, while New Brunswick’s Josh Barry of Fredericton took one in an extra end to edge Northwest Territories, 7-6, to improve to 2-2 as well.

Round robin play continues with draws at 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm today at both the Strathcona Paper Centre and Napanee & District Curling Club.

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