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Manitoba men clinch tiebreaker at Juniors

Manitoba (Alex Forrest of Winnipeg) clinched at least a tiebreaker at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors with a hard-fought 8-5 win Thursday morning over a stubborn British Columbia (Tyler Klymchuk of Langley).

The game was a lot closer than the final score indicated, though.

After taking a 4-1 lead through six ends, Manitoba watched its rival claw back with a single in the seventh, then steals of two in the eighth and one in the ninth to assume a 5-4 lead. Thus Manitoba needed at least a deuce to avoid an extra end.

But the Deer Lodge Curling Club team righted itself in the 10th end.  Forrest’s first stone, a hit and roll, left the Tobans with several counters, then his last takeout cleared out a British Columbia stone in counting four for the win.

“At the start, my guys were making everything,” said Forrest. “We got an early lead so that was nice.  We kind of just coasted a little bit from there.   Then when we got down to it, I struggled on a couple of mine and soon enough it was tied.  So I had to really focus in the last end to throw a clean rock. The second one was a little easier than the first one.  That was the big one.”

On British Columbia’s steal of two in the eighth, Forrest explained, “I had a draw to the button and tried a freeze but I threw a couple of feet more weight and the line didn’t come up. But the close games prepare you for anything.”

Manitoba, now 9-1, finishes up with New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.   The worst it could finish is 9-3, guaranteeing at least a tiebreaker, since only the top three teams qualify for the playoffs.

Currently behind Manitoba are Saskatchewan at 7-2, Ontario at 6-2 and Prince Edward Island at 7-3.  British Columbia fell to 6-4 with the loss.

In other Draw 16 games, Nova Scotia (Scott Garnett of Halifax) upped its record to 6-4 with a 7-3 win over Quebec (Kevin Rivest of Montreal).  New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Rothesay) edged Northwest Territories (Colin Miller of Yellowknife), 5-4 to improve to 5-5 while Alberta (Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton) got back on the winning track, evening its record at 5-5 with a 12-3 pounding of Yukon (Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse).

In women’s, the top three teams were idle…8-0 Ontario (Rachel Homan of Ottawa), followed by Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury) and Saskatchewan (Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon), both at 7-2.

Alberta (Nadine Chyz of Calgary) moved into fourth place at 7-3 with a 6-4 victory over Yukon (Sarah Koltun of Whitehorse).  British Columbia (Dailene Sivertston of Victoria) is now 6-4 after edging Manitoba (Breanne Meakin of Winnipeg), stealing singles in the eighth, ninth and 10th ends for the win.

Quebec (Camille-Marie Lapierre of Otterburn Park) won its second straight to go to 4-6 with a 7-6 decision over Nova Scotia (Tara LeGay of Bridgewater) while New Brunswick (Jessica Daigle of Saint John) upped its record to 4-6 by thumping winless Northwest Territories (Amanda Moizis of Hay River), 12-3.

The round robin continues Thursday with draws at 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm, at both Le Colisée and Club de curling Aurèle-Racine.