Saskatchewan women in the hunt at Juniors

Saskatchewan has won a leading 10 Canadian junior women’s titles since the championship began in 1971 in Vancouver. So it’s no surprise that the province always seems to send competitive teams…and it has another one this year in the Trish Paulsen squad, representing the Nutana Curling Club in Saskatoon. Wednesday afternoon, Saskatchewan clipped New Brunswick (Jessica Daigle of Saint John), 6-4 to improve to 7-2, tied with Northern Ontario for second, behind unbeaten (7-0) Ontario. “We’re doing alright so far,” said the 19-year-old Paulsen, a commerce student at the University of Saskatchewan.   “We’re happy how we’re playing.  Coming here, we just wanted to play our best.  We weren’t sure what teams were going to be here.” Paulsen also has her 18-year-old sister Kari on the team as lead, along with third Melissa Hoffman and second Sarah Collin.  It’s their first year together, with Collin the new addition. Paulsen’s dad, Art, played in the 1985 Labatt Brier in Moncton, as lead for Saskatchewan skip Eugene Hritzuk, finishing third after losing the semi-final to eventual winner, Northern Ontario’s Al Hackner. Paulsen has faced skips such as Ontario’s Rachel Homan and British Columbia’s Dailene Sivertson back in 2006, and played the Alberta team this past fall.  But that’s it.  She’d also played in several provincials, before finally winning it this year. She’ll face Homan Thursday afternoon, then has Quebec and Manitoba to finish up the robin robin. The top three teams make the playoffs, with the first place team getting a bye to Sunday’s final, live on TSN. In other games, Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury) kept pace with a 7-5 win over Nova Scotia (Tara LeGay of Bridgewater).  British Columbia (Dailene Sivertson of Victoria) improved to 5-3 with a 15-1 pasting of Northwest Territories (Amanda Moizis of Hay River), joined by Alberta (Nadine Chyz of Calgary), which beat Prince Edward Island (Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall), 7-4. On the men’s side, the 7-1 leader, Manitoba (Alex Forrest of Winnipeg) was idle, as was 6-1 Ontario (Jake Walker of Kitchener). But Saskatchewan (Braeden Moskowy of Regina) dropped to 7-2 with an extra end 7-6 loss to New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Rothesay).  Defending champion Prince Edward Island (Brett Gallant of Charlottetown) managed another escape to go to 7-3, this time with a tight 8-6 win over Alberta (Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton), stealing an insurance run in the 10th after a failed takeout by Bottcher. The other games saw British Columbia (Tyler Klymchuk of Langley) go to 5-3, defeating winless Northwest Territories (Colin Miller of Yellowknife), 6-4.  Nova Scotia (Scott Garnett of Halifax) moved to 5-4 by hammering Northern Ontario (Christian Tolusso of Thunder Bay), 9-2. The next draw is at 7:00 pm Wednesday evening at Le Colisée and Club de curling Aurèle-Racine.