STRATFORD, Ont. — Kyle Doering is hardly shy about explaining one of the more awkward, and potentially embarrassing, situations that you can have in the sport of curling.
The 20-year-old Team Manitoba vice-skip (throwing second rocks), while playing at the juvenile (U-18) provincials a few years ago, was in the enviable position of having seven rocks in the rings, and about to deliver the eighth for curling’s rarest feat — an eight-ender.
And he missed. Light. Ouch.
“My teammates at the time still talk about it to this day,” a smiling Doering said on Monday at the Stratford Rotary Complex, moments after helping Matt Dunstone’s Manitoba men’s team improve to 5-0 at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships, presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario, with a 9-4 win over Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay. “ ‘Remember when we had that eight-ender chance?’ Oh, yeah, I remember.”
His current teammate Colton Lott was holding the broom that day for Doering’s attempt.
“Draw to the eight-foot,” recalled Lott. “We hadn’t even played a shot there the whole game, and it was an outturn coming into the middle. It was frosty out there. They just pounded it the whole way and it was just a little short. It’s one of those chances you get; you make it, you make it. You miss it? Oh, well. It was a complete guess at the weight.”
Doering, a bronze-medallist at the 2012 Canadian Juniors, had mixed emotions as he prepared to throw the shot; the game was already in the bag and it was a given his opponents were going to shake hands afterward, and he didn’t want to rub it in, so he lowered his intensity level despite the potential thrill of the eight-ender out of respect for his opponents.
“I still tried to make it as best as I could, but way out in the weeds on Sheet 1 at the Assiniboine Club? That was all she wrote,” he said with a laugh. “If I get another chance? Oh, I’ll be intense. I’m going to follow that rock down the ice, take my time, and I’m going to make that shot, that’s for sure. Because I know how rare it is.”
The win over Alberta (2-2) clinched a championship round berth for the Manitobans (rounded out by lead Rob Gordon and coach Calvin Edie), while Alberta dropped to 2-2 in Pool A.
“I thought we played pretty well that game,” said Doering. “We had a few unfortunate picks, but other than that, I thought we played pretty solid. And they played amazing; I give them full credit. We’ve had a great start so far. But it’s early in the event, right? We’re not even half-way there. We gotta keep ’er going.”
The top three teams in each pool, plus two teams with the next best won-lost records, 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 2017 Canadian Juniors in Victoria.
All members of the non-playoff teams will then compete in a Mixed Doubles competition on Saturday and Sunday.
In Pool B, B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (New Westminster/Langley) also is at 5-0 after cruising to a 10-2 win over the Yukon’s Brayden Klassen (0-3; Whitehorse), while Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan (4-1; Copper Cliff) kept pace with the leaders by beating the Northwest Territories’ Matt Miller (0-4; Inuvik) 13-3.
In other men’s play, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Greg Smith (1-2; Stephenville) hung on for a 9-8 win over previously unbeaten Félix Asselin of Quebec (2-1; Montreal); and New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud (2-1; Moncton) scored four in the ninth end for a 7-4 win over P.E.I.’s Matt MacLean (1-4; O’Leary).
In women’s play, Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (5-0; Chester) continues to set the pace in Pool B following a 12-2 win over the Yukon’s Alyssa Meger (0-3; Whitehorse); B.C.’s Sarah Daniels (3-0; New Westminster) needed an extra end to beat P.E.I.’s Katie Fullerton (1-4; Cornwall); New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (3-1; Fredericton) handed Alberta’s Selena Sturmay (4-1; Airdrie) her first loss, a 6-5 extra-end triumph; Saskatchewan’s Kourtney Fesser (3-2; Saskatoon) doubled Newfoundland/Labrador’s Brooke Godsland (0-4; St. John’s) 10-5; and Manitoba’s Abby Ackland (3-0; Winnipeg) toppled Zoey Walsh of the Northwest Territories (0-3; Hay River) 13-4.
Action at the 2016 Canadian Juniors continues Monday with a draw at 6:30 p.m. (all times EST).
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016juniors/?lang=fr
The full scoreboard can be viewed at http://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/