While the Saskatchewan men and women remain unbeaten, along with the Alberta women, at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Calgary, there was also some celebration Sunday night for one of the lesser lights.
They may not be on the leaderboard, at least not yet, but it was definitely a good night for the Yukon.
Sunday evening, both the men’s and women’s teams from Whitehorse scored impressive wins. Thomas Scoffin, who owns the record for being the youngest to ever skip at the Juniors (age 12 in 2007), led his team to an 8-4 victory over Nova Scotia (Kendal Thompson of Halifax), while Sarah Koltun directed her teammates to a 6-2 decision over Nova Scotia’s Lindsay Doucet of Chester.
The Yukon men improved to 2-3 with the win, while the Yukon women are now 3-2, the best start ever for Koltun at the Canadian championship.
She may only be 17, and the second-youngest female skip at the event, but she is also making her fifth consecutive appearance at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors, far and away the leader amongst the participating skips. It also equals the most appearances by any women at the Juniors since the championship began in 1971.
In 2007, she was 1-11 in St Catharines. In 2008 in Sault Ste. Marie, her record was 0-12. But 2009 was a breakthrough year, as the ‘Yukonites’ finished with a 5-7 mark in Salmon Arm.
Last year, though, was a bit of a disappointment, as the foursome slumped to 3-9 in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.
“We’re not really sure (what happened last year),” recalled Koltun, a Grade 12 student. “We couldn’t get anything going, we were struggling to get started.”
On her team’s best start ever this week, what does Koltun attribute it to? “Well, all of our hard work over the past few years and our wonderful two coaches we have. It’s good to see that all the hard work is starting to pay off and we’re not just a team that you are guaranteed to win against anymore. We’re trying to put the Yukon back on the map!”
Third Chelsea Duncan and second Linea Eby have been with Koltun since 2007, while lead Jenna Duncan joined the team for the 2009 national championship.
“We’re just hoping to do our best, perform as well as we can and try to win a few games. And so far, so good,” said the demonstrative Koltun.
On the women’s side, Saskatchewan and Alberta continued to dominate, now at 5-0. Alberta, skipped by Nadine Chyz of Calgary, destroyed Newfoundland/Labrador (Erin Porter of St. John’s), 11-1, while Saskatchewan, with Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon at the controls, laid a 13-6 pounding on Prince Edward Island (Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall).
Ontario (Clancy Grandy of Waterloo) moved to 3-1 with an 8-3 win over Quebec (Alanna Routledge of Montreal). British Columbia (Dailene Sivertson of Victoria) eked out an 9-8 extra end decision over Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury) to also move to 3-1, followed by Yukon at 3-2 then Nova Scotia at 2-2.
Manitoba (Breanne Meakin of Winnipeg) got back on track with a 13-9 win over New Brunswick (Jennifer Armstrong of Fredericton) as both teams are now 2-3, along with Prince Edward Island. Northern Ontario fell to 1-3, Quebec and Newfoundland/Labrador are 1-4 and Northwest Territories (Taryn Williams of Yellowknife) is 0-4.
In men’s, Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy of Regina, who finished in third place last year, walloped Prince Edward Island (Spencer Pitre of Charlottetown), 12-3, to retain sole possession of first place at 5-0.
Newfoundland/Labrador (Colin Thomas of St. John’s) eked out a 7-6 extra end win over Alberta (Colin Hodgson of Calgary), stealing one for the victory, to move to 4-1.
Ontario (Mat Camm of Ottawa) won his third straight, 12-2 over Quebec (Vincent Bourget of Baie Comeau), to improve to 3-1.
With its second loss of the day, Alberta dropped to 3-2, the same record as New Brunswick (Jon Rennie of Fredericton), which scored an 8-2 win over Manitoba (Sam Good of Stonewall).
British Columbia (Jonathan Gardner of Vernon) beat Northern Ontario (Cody Johnston of Thunder Bay), 7-5 to move to 2-2, the same as Nova Scotia, followed by Quebec, Yukon and Manitoba at 2-3, Northern Ontario at 1-3, Prince Edward Island 1-4 and Northwest Territories (Colin Miller of Yellowknife) at 0-4.
The round robin continues Monday through Thursday with two draws daily at the North Hill and Glencoe. The first place teams will then advance to their respective finals, while the second and third place teams meet in semi-finals, after any required tiebreakers on Friday.
The women’s semi-final is Saturday morning at 10:30 am, with the final at 5:30 pm MT, live on TSN. The men’s semi-final is Sunday morning at 10:30 am, with the final also at 5:30 pm MT/7:30 pm ET, also live on TSN.