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Canadian men heading to World Juniors final

TALLINN, ESTONIA – It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it! The Canadian men ousted Switzerland in the 1-2 Page playoff game Friday night at the 2015 World Junior Curling Championships.

Braden Calvert (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

Braden Calvert (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

Winnipeg’s Braden Calvert, Kyle Kurz, Lucas Van Den Bosch, Brendan Wilson, alternate Colton Lott and coach Tom Clasper, managed to hang in for the 7-6 win over Switzerland in a very tight-scoring, anxiety-provoking game and will play for the gold medal on Sunday.

Canada opened up the scoring with a single in the second end. Switzerland answered back with a deuce in the third end.

Calvert and crew blanked the fourth end before generating two points in the fifth end with a double to bring the score to 3-2 for Canada.

The sixth end saw the straighter ice get the better of the Canadians with a flash on Calvert’s last rock, which allowed Switzerland to draw in for two to take a 4-3 lead.

The Canadians picked it back up in the next end with another two points in the seventh end. Another miscue on a hit in the eighth saw Switzerland split the house en route to another deuce and a 6-5 lead.

In the ninth end, Canada was able to generate a two-ender right back with good rock management and tie up the game 6-6.

The 10th end was a less-than-ideal set up for the men with Switzerland ticking Canada’s centreline guard over to the four-foot line, then Canada’s second guard attempt landing in the top 12-foot.

Brendan Wilson and Kyle Kurz (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

Brendan Wilson and Kyle Kurz (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

On Calvert’s first rock, the team had to draw behind the only guard available to them – the corner guard. The rock ran straight, but the men were able to bury most by sweeping it to the back four. Switzerland executed a tap, leaving its rock back button. The Canadians played the freeze to the Swiss stone, but was a little heavy and tapped the rock to the back house.

Needing to pick the Canadian stone out of play for the win, the Swiss rock floated wide and passed by Canada’s shot rock by less than an inch. A deafening silence followed with a quiet handshake to end the game.

“Shocked. You expect him to make that shot,” said Calvert, when asked about his immediate reaction to the result. “I guess we’ll take it.”

Calvert assessed the game and his team’s performance.

“We just came out pretty sluggish. I didn’t play good enough personally to give the guys a fighting chance most of the way and we just kept hanging in there. Never putting the pressure on them that we needed to,” said Calvert. “It will be different in the final. We’re going to go pedal to the metal right off the bat.”

On the women’s side, Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque, Danielle Schmiemann, Holly Jamieson, Jessica Iles, alternate Kristen Streifel and coach Amanda-Dawn Coderre, finished off the round robin during the morning draw with a perfect 9-0 record after a win over South Korea.

In a game where the Canadians never had the hammer, the team stole its way to the 7-1 victory.

South Korea blanked the first two ends, then gave up a series of single point steals in ends three through six when the Korean skip failed to execute on routine open hits. The nail in the coffin for Korea was giving up a big three-ender in the seventh end when another hit attempt went awry.

Kelsey Rocque calls line during the last round robin game  (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

Kelsey Rocque calls line during the last round robin game (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

The teams played it back to the home end where South Korea made a draw for one to finish the game with a 7-1 final score.

“We were surprised by [Korea] continuing to hit when they got down. I was okay with it,” said Rocque. “We got a little fortunate when they hit and rolled out a couple times.”

The Canadian women will take on Scotland in the 1-2 Page playoff game Saturday at 2 p.m. local (7 a.m. ET). The men advance directly to the finals on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. local (2:30 a.m. ET) and will face the winner of the Sweden/Switzerland semifinal.

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