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Manitoba climbs into four-way tie for lead in men’s at Juniors

Manitoba’s Alex Forrest of Winnipeg won a big one this afternoon, an 8-7 extra end squeaker over defending Canadian champion Brett Gallant of Charlottetown in Draw 5 action at Colisée Cardin.

Not only did the victory keep the Deer Lodge Curling Club team undefeated, but its 3-0 record is good enough for a share of top spot at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors, along with New Brunswick, Ontario and idle Saskatchewan (Braeden Moskowy of Regina).

The win also denied Gallant another chance to set a record for career wins as skip at the Juniors.  He’s currently tied with Quebec’s Martin Crête, at 41 wins, in his record-tying sixth appearance.

Down 5-3 at the fifth end break, Manitoba took deuces in the sixth and ninth ends to go up 7-6, before Prince Edward Island, which dropped to 1-2, forced the extra with a single in the 10th.    Gallant  was in a position to steal in the 11th end before Forrest cleared out his opponent’s counter with his first rock.

“We had a tough start but we fought back and never gave up,” explained Forrest, making his national debut.  “I made sure, knowing how the ice was, that I was tight with my first one (in the extra end) to at least hit something to our benefit.

“I lost the (provincial) final playing third two years ago.  Last year, we didn’t do so great.  This is half a new team.  We’ve just clicked pretty good all year, having a real good year.  We’re off to a good start, no complaints right now.”

In other men’s results, New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Rothesay) doubled up on Quebec (Kevin Rivest of Montreal), 6-3; Ontario (Jake Walker of Kitchener) disposed of Yukon (Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse), 6-2  and Nova Scotia (Scott Garnett of Halifax) edged Newfoundland and Labrador (Kelly Schuh of St. John’s), 6-5, in winning its first game.

On the women’s side, Manitoba (Breanne Meakin of Winnipeg) fell from the unbeaten ranks, losing to Prince Edward Island (Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall), 11-4.  That leaves Ontario (Rachel Homan of Ottawa) as the only undefeated team at 3-0, after a tough 9-5 battle with Yukon (Sarah Koltun of Whitehorse).

With the loss, Manitoba dropped to 2-1, tied with four others for second place: New Brunswick, Saskatchewan (Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon), Prince Edward Island and Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury).

New Brunswick (Jessica Daigle of Saint John) edged Quebec (Camille-Marie Lapierre of Otterburn Park), 5-4, while Newfoundland and Labrador (Jen Cunningham of St. John’s) also won its first, 9-2 over Nova Scotia (Tara LeGay of Bridgewater).

Play continues with Draw 6 tonight at 7:00 pm at both Colisée Cardin and Club de curling Aurèle-Racine.