Saskatchewan wins 2011 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s final

In one of the most exciting M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior men’s finals in history, Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy of Regina scored an 8-7, extra end victory over Ontario’s Mat Camm of Ottawa…on a measure.

Braeden Moskowy Celebrates (Photo by: Michael Burns)

Facing two Ontario stones in the four-foot, Moskowy fired a rocket with his last one, a nose hit on one of the counters for the potential win. When the smoke had cleared, it appeared the ‘yellow stone’ of Saskatchewan’s was the winner, but it took a measure to confirm it…barely…before jubilation erupted on the ice and in the stands at the North Hill Community Curling Club. Moskowy’s Callie Curling Club team became only the fifth men’s team to win the title while unbeaten, finishing with a 13-0 mark. The last to do so was Manitoba’s Hugh McFadyen in 1986 in Red Deer. “There wasn’t anything else for us, so we had to throw that (the nose hit),” said Moskowy, a 20-year-old Business student at the University of Regina, who finished third in last year’s M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors. “Just thank God it worked out for us. I have no idea (how close the measure was). My head was buried somewhere over there. Kudos to them. They battled back and made a hell of a game out of it. “(Going undefeated) is something that I’m extremely proud of. There are barely any teams that have done it, and there are so many good teams here every single year, and it’s such a grind. To come out every single game and play well is such a tough task. It’s pretty amazing.” The shooting percentages favoured Ontario, as each player shot a higher number than his Saskatchewan counterpart, and, as a team, Ontario held an 86%-78% advantage, but in the end, the only thing that mattered was the final score. It was a game that featured many rocks in play, and at times rivaled a riveting Brier-like final. Although Saskatchewan opened a 3-0 lead, taking two in the first and stealing one in the second, Ontario countered with its own deuce in the third. Moskowy opened a 5-2 lead after five ends, but a pair by Camm in the sixth and a steal of two in the seventh suddenly turned the tables and appeared to give Ontario the momentum, now with a 6-5 lead. After a blanked eighth end, Moskowy took two in the ninth to edge to the front, 7-6. Camm tried for the win in the 10th with a draw to the full four around guards but was light, hit his own and pushed it too far, counting only one in the process. Then came the extra end dramatics. It’s the first Canadian junior title for Moskowy, third Kirk Muyres, second Colton Flasch and lead Matt Lang. However, for coach Dwayne Mihalicz, it was his second Canadian junior title, after coaching Saskatchewan’s Kyle George to a Canadian and world junior title in 2005. Moskowy had also defeated Camm, 9-7 in a wild round robin match. It was the 14th Canadian junior men’s title for Saskatchewan since the championship began in 1950, behind only Alberta’s leading 15, but the first since skip Kyle George won in Fredericton in 2005. It was also the second consecutive year that a province has won both the men’s and women’s junior titles. Last year, Ontario’s Rachel Homan and Jake Walker won the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. This year in Calgary, Moskowy joined Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon as Saskatchewan swept the men’s and women’s championships, a feat the province also accomplished in 2003, when Marliese Kasner and Steve Laycock were victorious in Ottawa. Incidentally, both went on to win world junior titles that year in Flims, Switzerland. Moskowy and his Callie Curling Club team will now represent Canada at the 2011 world junior curling championships in Perth, Scotland, March 5-13. Canada has won a leading 16 world junior men’s titles since 1975, the last by Alberta’s Charley Thomas in 2007 in Eveleth, Minnesota. “Unbelievable. I thought about it a bit before the game today,” continued Moskowy. “It’s going to be an unbelievable experience, something I didn’t know if I’d ever get the chance to do. I’m so happy, and so happy for these guys. Can’t wait to get going. “Absolutely. That’s the nice thing about Canada — anything less than the gold is unacceptable. We know that, and we feel the same way. I can’t wait to get started out there. It’s going to be fun. “We played a great game, but the other team played phenomenal,” said the 20-year-old Camm, an Environmental Biology Student at Algonquin College, who was making his Juniors debut. “That’s the closest it could have been, right? A measure on the last rock, and they pulled ’er through.”