TALLINN, ESTONIA – Kelsey Rocque remains at the top of the leaderboard with a perfect 5-0 record at the 2015 World Junior Curling Championships.
Kelsey Rocque, Danielle Schmiemann, Holly Jamieson, Jessica Iles, alternate Kristen Streifel and coach Amanda-Dawn Coderre of Edmonton continued to lead the standings with a 5-0 record after a win over England.
England blanked the first two ends right off the bat, before Canada forced them to make a draw for a single point in the third end.
In the fourth, Canada picked up a deuce with the help of some well-positioned rocks in the four-foot.
The fifth end started off a string of steals for the Canadians with a steal of one in the fifth end, two in the sixth and another in the seventh to extend Canada’s lead to 6-1.
England made a valiant attempt to generate a deuce in the eighth end, but Canada’s strong hitting skills kept the playing field tidy and England was forced into a hit for a single. The gloves came off following that end with a final score of 6-2.
Though Rocque is no stranger to the World Juniors as the 2014 gold-medallist, and appears to be hitting cruise control through the round robin, she explains that every game brings a different challenge.
“Strategy can be [most difficult]. You expect certain things in Canada. We all follow the same sort of strategy, but when you come [to the World Juniors], other teams throw a curveball at you and you’re not quite sure what to expect. Keeps you on your toes!”
On the men’s side, Winnipeg’s Braden Calvert, Kyle Kurz, Lucas Van Den Bosch, Brendan Wilson, alternate Colton Lott and coach Tom Clasper, squeaked through the day with two more wins under their belts.
The team opened the day with a 5-1 win over Italy followed by a barnburner of a game against Sweden that resulted in a 3-2 win.
Canada opened the scoring with a big three-ender in the second end after the team capitalized on a series of misses by the Italians. The third end saw more aggressive play from both teams. Canada narrowly escaped giving a three right back, as Italy just rolled past the second rock on a double attempt, and instead gave up a steal of one.
Italy blanked the next two ends after efforts to generate a deuce with the hammer fell through.
In the sixth end, Canada forced Italy to throw a hit against two. The Italian skip failed to stick around for shot rock and gave up a single point to Canada.
Following another blank by the Italians in the seventh end, Canada made a line up change for the second time this tournament. Kurz went off the ice and the team brought alternate Lott, 2013 World Junior bronze-medallist, into the game again in the third position.
Lott’s time in the game was short-lived, as Italy settled for a single point in the eighth, then promptly shook hands to end the game for a 5-1 final score.
“We controlled the tone of the game,” said Calvert. “The [key to our success] was capitalizing on the Italian misses and putting our rocks in good spots.”
The evening game against Sweden was a very intense, low-scoring affair. The Swedes came into the game tied for second in the standings with Canada at 4-1.
After three scoreless ends to kick off the game, Canada had a chance to draw to the button to pick up a point, but was heavy and instead gave up a steal of one.
The fifth end got messy with both teams jugging rocks to take control of the four-foot. With his last, Calvert picked the Swedish shot stone off the button to take one.
Sweden answered back in the sixth by taking a single point. In the seventh, Calvert made a double on his first followed by a peel on his second to carry the hammer into the next end.
The eighth saw Canada’s chance at a deuce slip away when an attempted draw to lay two sailed through the house resulting in a blank.
With only one stone in play, a rock guarding half of the 12-foot, the Swedes tucked a rock in behind leaving only a piece showing. Calvert squeaked by the guard and picked the rock out of the house. It was a Groundhog Day situation for the next two rocks as Sweden made the exact same draw followed by Calvert executing another perfect pick.
Down one with hammer, Canada tried to go for the deuce and the win in the tenth end, but it wasn’t meant to be. A key miss by Canada and a double takeout by Sweden resulted in the Canadians facing a draw to the full eight-foot to force an extra end.
The teams had the crowd in the stands and YouTube on the edge of their seats during the extra end. Canada placed a rock on the top button and made five perfect guards in a row on the rock after Sweden continued the make the single peel. On the sixth, and last shot at throwing the guard, Calvert’s rock overcurled by a couple inches leaving the door open for Sweden to throw a light-weight tap back for the win. The Swedish skip’s rock took a sharp turn at the end and just grazed the back of the guard, sending it off course and giving Canada the 3-2 win.
“We had to dig deep for this [win],” said Calvert. “That’s probably a shot he makes nine out of ten times so you expect him to make it and it was a bit of a relief that we pulled this one out.”
The Canadian women will take on Scotland Wednesday at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) and Estonia at 7 p.m. local (noon ET). The Canadian men will also face Scotland on Wednesday at 2 p.m. local (7 a.m. ET).
The World Junior Curling Championships will be broadcast on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV
For the full game and broadcast schedule information, go to: http://wjcc2015.curlingevents.com/schedule
For even more of an insider look, Streifel, women’s team alternate, will be keeping a blog of the team’s adventures in Tallinn. Read all about it here: http://k-streif.blogspot.ca
This story will be posted as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/?lang=fr