Playoff picture still cloudy at Juniors

The playoff picture still remains a bit cloudy after this morning’s Draw 19 at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors. This much we do know.   In men’s, Manitoba (Alex Forrest of Manitoba) had already clinched a berth in Sunday’s final at 7:30 pm, live on TSN, finishing with a 10-2 mark. Saskatchewan (Braeden Moskowy of Regina) earned a berth in Saturday evening’s semi-final at 7:30 pm after defeating Manitoba this morning, 7-4, completing the round robin with a 9-3 record. “That was a big game for us,” said Moskowy.  “If we’d lost, I think we would have been in a tiebreaker.   But this secures us a playoff spot for sure, which at the start of the week, was all we were playing for. “We’ve believed in ourselves all year and we’ve had a really good year on the cash circuit.  We pretty much played well all year.  I think this was the first week we lost two games in a row but we bounced back nicely last night against Quebec and then this morning.” That leaves defending champion Prince Edward Island (Brett Gallant of Charlottetown) and Ontario (Jake Walker of Kitchener) duking it out this afternoon at 12:30 pm in the final round robin draw for the other semi-final berth, since both teams enter the last contest with 8-3 marks. Ontario defeated Alberta (Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton), 7-2 Friday morning to set up the showdown this afternoon.  Alberta completed the round robin at 6-6. The women’s picture is murkier.   Ontario (Rachel Homan of Ottawa), like Manitoba, had already clinched first place on Thursday night, but remained unbeaten with an 8-2 decision over Alberta (Nadine Chyz of Calgary) Friday morning to improve to 11-0. Homan finishes with Prince Edward Island this afternoon at 12:30 pm, before advancing to Sunday’s final at 2:30 pm ET, live on TSN. Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury) snagged second place with a 5-2 victory over Newfoundland and Labrador (Jen Cunningham of St. John’s) to finish with a 9-3 record.  Lilly advances to Saturday’s semi-final. “It was a tight game for a bit.  We played it really open,” said Lilly. “I guess it wasn’t a very interesting game for people that were watching, that’s for sure.   But it’s where we wanted to be.  That’s all we can ask for.” However, Saskatchewan (Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon) and Alberta completed the round robin with 8-4 marks, and could be joined by British Columbia (Dailene Sivertston of Victoria), should it win this afternoon over Nova Scotia. That would leave three teams tied for third, necessitating two tiebreakers, one at 9:30 am and one at 2:30 pm on Saturday, meaning the women’s semi-final would go at the same time as the men’s on Saturday night…7:30 pm. If British Columbia loses, then Saskatchewan faces Alberta Saturday at 9:30 am, with the winner advancing to the semi-final at 2:30 pm to meet Northern Ontario. In other men’s games, Newfoundland and Labrador (Kelly Schuh of St. John’s) defeated Northern Ontario (Christian Tolusso of Thunder Bay), 6-3 and finishes against Northwest Territories.  Northern Ontario wound up 4-8. Yukon (Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse) took three in the 10th end to defeat New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Rothesay), 9-6.  Yukon, now 4-7, finishes against Quebec, while New Brunswick wound up 5-7. With the win, the Manitoba women evened its record at 6-6.  In  other games, New Brunswick (Jessica Daigle of Saint John) whacked Yukon (Sara Koltun of Whitehorse), 11-5 to finish at 5-7, while Yukon, now 2-9, concludes against Quebec. The round robin finishes with Draw 20 this afternoon at 12:30 pm.