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Former champs return to 2015 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors eager for gold

A year away from the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships only made Corryn Brown’s competitive fires burn hotter.

B.C. skip Corryn Brown has her team headed in the right direction with a 5-0 record in Corner Brook. (Photo, Amanda Rumboldt)

B.C. skip Corryn Brown has her team headed in the right direction with a 5-0 record in Corner Brook. (Photo, Amanda Rumboldt)

The 19-year-old Team B.C. skip and her team from Kamloops — third Erin Pincott, second Samantha Fisher, lead Sydney Fraser and coach Allison MacInnis — won gold at the 2013 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in 2013 in Fort McMurray, Alta., only to lose the 2014 B.C. final to Kalia Van Osch, who would go on to win silver at the nationals in Liverpool, N.S.

A year later, the Brown team is back at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors, hoping for a second gold medal.

The team took a big step toward that goal Monday night at the Corner Brook Civic Centre, knocking off the Northwest Territories’ Carina McKay-Saturnino 8-3 in women’s Pool B play. With the victory, B.C. improved to 5-0 — good enough to move onto the championship round of the competition.

So far, so good in the bid to erase last year’s disappointment, which admits Brown, hurt. Badly.

“A ton,” she nodded. “I really think that was kind of the huge driving factor for us, definitely. That was a crushing defeat, for sure. And it really made us want it more, to be honest. The first year we won it, we didn’t really have any past experience, but having won it and then losing it? That was a huge crushing disappointment, especially being defending Canadian champions.”

What’s never been in doubt is the team’s commitment to each other. The unit is in its ninth (!) season of playing together — a stunning achievement at the junior level. Brown, Fisher and Fraser all have two more years of junior eligibility, while Pincott will age out following the 2015-16 season.

“It’s never really been a question (of staying together), to be honest,” said Brown. “We just believe in each other so much. I really think the only reason we wouldn’t stay together would be life choices. Fortunately we’re all going to the same school (Thompson Rivers University) right now, but depending on education choices, we might have to venture off.”

Team New Brunswick's Ryan Freeze, left, and Alex MacNeil show their sweeping prowess. (Photo, Amanda Rumboldt)

Team New Brunswick’s Ryan Freeze, left, and Alex MacNeil show their sweeping prowess. (Photo, Amanda Rumboldt)

Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (Chester; 3-2), the 2014 bronze-medallist, improved her hopes of moving on to the championship round with a 6-4 win over Prince Edward Island’s Veronica Smith (Cornwall; 2-4), while New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (Fredericton) pulled into a tie with Nova Scotia by stealing three in the 10th end for an 8-6 win over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Sarah Hill (St. John’s; 0-5).

In Pool A, Alberta’s Kelsey Rocque (Edmonton; 5-0) is moving on; she had the bye on Monday night. Also clinching a position in the championship round was Ontario’s Chelsea Brandwood (Hamilton; 5-1), who beat Manitoba’s Beth Peterson (Winnipeg; 2-3).

In men’s action, both pool leaders picked up impressive wins Monday night to book their spots in the championship round.

In Pool A, Quebec’s Félix Asselin (Montreal) ran his win streak to five games with a 6-2 triumph over Nova Scotia’s Matthew Manuel (Halifax; 1-4), scoring three in the sixth end en route to the win.

In Pool B, Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay (Edmonton) also improved to 5-0 with an 8-2 win over the Yukon’s Joe Wallingham (Whitehorse; 2-4), while the man Calvert beat in last year’s final, New Brunswick’s Rene Comeau (Fredericton), clinched his championship round berth at 4-1 by beating Matthew Miller of the Northwest Territories (Yellowknife; 0-5) 10-5.

Tied with New Brunswick is Saskatchewan’s Jacob Hersikorn (Saskatoon), who had the bye on Monday night.

In the other men’s Pool A game, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Greg Smith (Stephenville; 2-3) beat Nunavut’s Kane Komaksiutiksak (Rankin Inlet; 0-4).

Action at the 2015 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors continues on Tuesday with draws at 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. (All times NST; EST plus 90 minutes).

Round-robin games are taking place at both the Corner Brook Civic Centre and the Corner Brook Curling Club.

The top three teams in each pool, plus two teams with the next best won-lost records, then advance to the Championship Round for a further four-game partial round robin from Wednesday through Friday, with their earlier records carried forward.

Upon completion of the Championship Round, the top team of each gender advances to its respective final, while the second- and third-place finishers meet in a semifinal to determine the other finalist.

Meanwhile, the six teams of each gender that don’t qualify for the Championship Round meet in a Seeding Round to determine ranking for the 2016 Canadian Juniors in Stratford, Ont.

All members of the non-playoff teams will then compete in a Mixed Doubles competition on Saturday and Sunday.

All playoff games will be played at the Civic Centre. The men’s and women’s playoffs will be televised by the TSN network as well as RDS2 (French). The women’s semifinal is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31, at 1:30 p.m. NST/noon EST, with the gold-medal game at 8 p.m. NST/6:30 p.m. EST.

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2015juniors-fr/

The full scoreboard can be viewed at http://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/