Both Alberta teams are unbeaten after the first day of competition at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Napanee.
On the men’s side, Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton completed a perfect Saturday with wins over British Columbia, 7-2 and Saskatchewan, 10-4. Bottcher competed in the 2010 event in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, finishing with a 6-6 mark.
However, also at 2-0 is Quebec, skipped by Félix Asselin of Montreal, who knocked off Ontario, 5-2 in the opening draw, then squeezed out a 6-5 extra end decision over British Columbia in the evening draw.
Northern Ontario (Brennan Wark of Thunder Bay), Prince Edward Island (Alex Matters of Charlottetown) and Nova Scotia (Stuart Thompson of Halifax) are all at 1-0, while New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan (Brady Scharback of Saskatoon) are 1-1.
In tonight’s action, Ontario’s Brett DeKoning of Omemee scored a key 6-5 extra end decision over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Colin Thomas of St. John’s. Thomas had taken a deuce in the 10th end to tie it, but was wide and heavy with his last stone in the extra while trying to freeze to an Ontario counter, meaning DeKoning did not have to throw his last one.
“That was a really good win,” said the 20-year-old DeKoning, a University of Western Ontario Business student who is making his Juniors debut. “I live in Chatham but it’s great to have fans here to support us, our club being only an hour away. We like to have fun on the ice. We really didn’t know what to expect. We’re just trying to stay loose, win a couple of games and have fun. It’s just good to have support behind us, it’s great to have the crowd into the game.”
This morning, DeKoning’s squad dropped a 5-2 decision to Quebec. “We had a couple of tough breaks against them, but they’re a great team. We’re happy to be 1-1 (after the first day).”
For Thomas, one of the pre-tournament favourites who finished third last year in Calgary at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors and most recently won a silver medal at the Karuizawa Invitational in Japan, it was his second loss of the day, after dropping a 6-4 decision to New Brunswick’s Josh Barry of Fredericton.
On the women’s side, Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer won both of her contests on Saturday, nipping British Columbia, 9-8 in the morning, then trouncing Saskatchewan, 11-2 this afternoon.
Prince Edward Island (Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall), Manitoba (Shannon Birchard of Winnipeg) and Yukon (Sarah Koltun of Whitehorse) are all 1-0, after enjoying an evening bye.
Quebec (Roxane Perron of Ste-Foy), Newfoundland/Labrador (Erica Trickett of St. John’s), Ontario (Jamie Sinclair of Manotick), British Columbia (Kesa Van Osch of Nanaimo) and New Brunswick (Jennifer Armstrong of Rothesay) are at 1-1.
Round robin play continues with three draws daily, Sunday through Thursday, at 10:00 am, 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm, with the final two draws Friday at 8:00 am and 1:00 pm.
The top three finishers make the playoffs, with the winners advancing to their respective finals on Saturday (women) and Sunday (men), with both games televised live on TSN at 7:00 pm ET. The second and third place finishers meet in semi-finals to determine the other finalists.
The winners of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors will then represent Canada at the World Juniors, March 3-11 in Östersund, Sweden.