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Ontario to face British Columbia in women’s; Manitoba meets Ontario in men’s at Juniors

It’ll be Ontario (Rachel Homan) vs British Columbia (Dailene Sivertson of Victoria) and Manitoba (Alex Forrest of Winnipeg) against Ontario (Jake Walker of Kitchener) Sunday in the finals of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors.

The women’s final will start at 2:30 pm ET, while the men’s final begins at 7:30 pm, with both games televised live across Canada on TSN.

Saturday evening, British Columbia once again used a steal to move on, this time when Northern Ontario skip Kendra Lilly of Sudbury was a tad heavy with her final stone while needing to draw the full four-foot, leaving a British Columbia counter as the difference in a 4-3 extra end triumph.

It was the third win of the day for British Columbia, after defeating Alberta 12-1 in a morning tiebreaker, then Saskatchewan, 6-3 in the second tiebreaker, stealing a total of 11 points in both games.

“We’ve been stealing all day and we just had to do it one more time and that’s exactly what we did,” said the 19-year-old Sivertson, who finished third at the 2007 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in St. Catharines.

“To be honest, I didn’t even watch her (Lilly) throw it.  I was just standing there waiting.  We just had to wait and see what happened.  This is what we’ve been working for all week. We took the longest path to get here but it’s right where we want to be, absolutely.”

Ontario, which defeated British Columbia, 9-7 in Draw 15 of the round robin, will try to become just the fourth team since 1971 to win the Canadian title while unbeaten.  The last to so was Manitoba, skipped by Cathy Overton, in 1989.

Homan finished the round robin with a 12-0 mark and will be seeking just a third title for Ontario, the last by Kim Gellard in 1993.  Sivertson seeks a fourth win for her province, but first since 1987 by Julie Sutton.

In the men’s semi-final, Ontario eliminated Saskatchewan (Braeden Moskowy or Regina) 8-5, although not without some anxious moments in the sixth end.

Walker had made a nifty double to take three in the fourth end, then stole a single in the fifth.  “That was a good shot (about the double).  Thankfully I was making about 95% of my shots, so that really helped us out. But it was scary at some points.

Especially when the 4-1 lead almost disappeared in the sixth, when Moskowy had a chance for four with a runback but wrecked on a guard, giving up another steal of one.

“That whole end was scary, because they were setting up good for multiple points.  I missed my first one, because my rock hit something in my hand, so I had to shove it.   So that was a miss.  That required me to make a good shot on my last, which I did.

“I felt he (Moskowy) could make it, it was definitely there, but it was pretty tough.  If it was me, I probably would have drawn for the one.”

Still, the Saskatchewan skip rebounded in the seventh with an almost impossible double takeout for three to close the gap to 5-4, only to give up three in the eighth and hand the game right back to Ontario.

“I feel very good (going to the final).  Quite an opportunity for me.  We’ll go into the game, play it like any other game and  hopefully we can win.  I thought before we came here we were good enough to be in the final,” said Walker.

Ontario now faces Manitoba for a second time, after losing 5-4 in Draw 7.   Ontario has won eight Canadian junior men’s titles, the last by John Morris in 1999.

Manitoba, which finished in first place with a 10-2 mark, has won six previous national men’s finals, the last coming in 2002 by David Hamblin.

Both winners will then represent Canada at the World Junior Curling Championships in Flims, Switzerland, March 6-14.  Seven years ago in 2003, Canada’s men, skipped by Steve Laycock and Canada’s women, skipped by Marliese Miller (now Kasner), won world junior gold medals in Flims.