Saskatchewan, skipped by Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon, advanced to the women’s final of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Calgary, defeating Manitoba (Breanne Meakin of Winnipeg), 7-6 with a steal in the 10th end in today’s semi-final.
Saskatchewan will now meet host Alberta, skipped by Nadine Chyz of Calgary, in the Saturday evening final, starting at 5:30 pm MT/7:30 pm ET, live on TSN from the North Hill Community Curling Club.
Chyz finished in top spot after the round robin with an 11-1 record to earn a bye to the final, while Paulsen, the second place finisher with a 9-3 mark, needed to beat Manitoba to advance.
It came down to last rock in the 10th end, as Meakin chose an in-off rather than a draw with her last stone, in order to try to erase a Saskatchewan counter in the back four. But she was a little wide and nose-hit it instead, allowing Saskatchewan to steal the win.
“On my last shot (a guard), I said that’s all I can do,” said Paulsen. “We played a good game. All we can do is hope for a miss. I thought she was going to draw, though. We just stayed focused. We knew what we had to do. Ten ends is a long game. We just kept playing, right to the last rock.”
Paulsen’s team was hammered 9-3 by Chyz on Thursday evening in a battle for first place in the last draw of the round robin, giving up five points in steals in the final three ends. But the semi-final win has given them confidence.
“We just weren’t on our game (when we faced Alberta), but we played a great game today and we’re ready to play the final,” continued Paulsen, who finished fourth last year in Sorel-Tracy.
Today’s semi-final was a see-saw affair. Manitoba opened a 3-1 lead in the second end after Paulsen rubbed on a guard. But Saskatchewan responded with a deuce in the third to tie it.
A steal in the sixth end put Manitoba up 5-3, but Paulsen countered with a pair in the seventh to knot it at five. The teams then traded singles, leaving Meakin, the 2009 Canadian champion and 2007 runner-up, with hammer in the 10th end.
Alberta has won just five Canadian junior titles since the championship began in 1971. The last to do so was skip Heather Nedohin (nee Godberson) in 1996 in Edmonton.
Saskatchewan, on the other hand, has won the title a leading 10 times, the last by Mandy Selzer in 2006 in Thunder Bay.