CORNER BROOK, N.L. — Kelsey Rocque will once again be trading in her Alberta Wild Rose for a Canada Maple Leaf.
The 20-year-old University of Alberta student captured her second straight women’s gold medal at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships on Saturday night at the Corner Brook Civic Centre, beating Ontario’s Chelsea Brandwood (Hamilton) 8-2.
Rocque, who won last year’s title in Liverpool, N.S., with a different lineup (all of whom exhausted their junior eligibility at the end of the season), will now take aim at her second straight world junior women’s title. She’ll be joined by third Danielle Schmiemann, second Holly Jamieson, lead Jessica Iles and coach Amanda-Dawn Coderre at the 2015 World Junior Championships, beginning Feb. 28 in Tallinn, Estonia.
“It definitely doesn’t get tired,” said a jubilant Rocque, who finished the game scored at 94 per cent. “To wear that Maple Leaf on your back is absolutely incredible. To do it twice? There’s no words.”
The Albertans controlled most of the game, taking the lead with a deuce in the fourth end and then adding a steal of one in the sixth when Brandwood was just heavy with her last-rock draw looking at two Alberta counters.
Brandwood had a shot to get a deuce back in the seventh but rolled a bit too far on her open hit and settled for a single. Alberta would respond with a deuce in the seventh and never looked back.
Ontario had two hogline violations early in the game; one appeared to be a clean delivery but the rock was tested after the red light went off and found to be working correctly. Video replays can’t be used to overturn hogline calls.
While it was Rocque’s second chance to hoist the championship trophy, her teammates were getting that opportunity for the first time, and loving it.
“Oh, it’s amazing,” said Schmiemann. “We’ve been working so hard this year. We set goals at the beginning of the year that we wanted to get here and we wanted to move on from there, so everybody is really excited right now.
“Kels was so good today; she’s been here before and she was such a calming influence in this game. She’s always such a good leader, and she really helped us today.”
Rocque (third cousin of four-time Brier champ Marcel Rocque) became just the fourth skip to win back-to-back Canadian junior women’s titles; the others were Alberta’s Cathy King (1977, 1978), Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt (2001, 2002) and Manitoba’s Kaitlyn Lawes (2008, 2009) as back-to-back winning skips.
In Estonia, she’ll try to match Scotland’s Eve Muirhead as the only skips to repeat as world junior champions, and will enter the event as a favourite.
“I think I’ve dealt with that pretty well all year,” said Rocque. “We had it coming out of northern playdowns, then at our provincials, and then here. We’ve had the target on our back the whole way. Another world championship is pretty cool, but I think we’ll take it one rock at a time just like we did here.”
The men’s playoffs are scheduled for Sunday at the Civic Centre. In the semifinal at 1:30 p.m. (all times NST; EST plus 90 minutes) on TSN/RDS2, Saskatchewan’s Jacob Hersikorn (Saskatoon) plays 2014 silver-medallist Rene Comeau of New Brunswick (Fredericton).
The semifinal winner moves onto the gold-medal medal game at 8 p.m. on TSN/RDS2 against reigning champion Braden Calvert of Manitoba (Winnipeg).
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/