Manitobans on a roll at M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors

Both the Manitoba women (Shannon Birchard of Winnipeg) and men (Kyle Doering of Winnipeg) are on a roll at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Napanee, Ontario.

MB skip Kyle Doering (photo by Mike Fitzpatrick)

Fresh from knocking both Alberta teams from the unbeaten ranks Tuesday evening, they were back on the ice this morning, facing another tough rival, Saskatchewan. Once again, the ‘Tobans’ emerged victorious. Birchard won her game, 7-4 over Saskatchewan’s Kristen Streifel of Saskatoon, to move to 6-2 and retain a share of second place, along with Nova Scotia and Alberta. Last night, Manitoba handed Alberta its first loss, 9-5. In another key encounter, Nova Scotia (Emily Dwyer of Halifax) had to draw the four-foot in an extra end for an 8-7 decision over Alberta’s Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer to create the three-way tie for second. It was Alberta’s second consecutive loss. But the new women’s leader is British Columbia, skipped by Kesa Van Osch of Nanaimo, who is curling with her younger sisters Kalia at third and Marika at second, with Brooklyn Leitch at lead. Van Osch hammered New Brunswick (Jennifer Armstrong of Rothesay), 10-2 to take over sole possession of first place with a 7-1 mark. After losing her opener, Van Osch has now recorded seven wins in a row. British Columbia meets Ontario in the 2:30 pm draw. “It was a good game,” said 17-year-old Birchard, about the tilt with Saskatchewan. “We started off really well getting three in the first end, so that was really nice. Last night (against Alberta), we felt really good going in, really loose and played well throughout.”

YT skip Sarah Koltun (photo: Mike Fitzpatrick)

The other women’s game Wednesday morning went to Yukon’s Sarah Koltun of Whitehorse, who stole singles in the ninth and 10th ends in defeating Newfoundland/Labrador’s Erica Trickett of St. John’s, 6-5. Yukon improved to 4-3. In men’s, Manitoba’s Doering outlasted Saskatchewan’s Brady Scharback of Saskatoon, 7-5 to retain a share of first place with Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton, who defeated Nova Scotia’s Stuart Thompson of Halifax, 6-3. Both teams are 7-1 while Nova Scotia dropped to 6-2. Yukon’s Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse edged Newfoundland/Labrador’s Colin Thomas of St. John’s, 7-6 in an extra end to improve to 5-2 in fourth, followed by idle Quebec (Félix Asselin of Montreal) at 5-3. Tuesday evening, Manitoba handed Alberta its first loss, 9-5, taking four in an extra end. “They’re a very good team (Alberta). Coming into that game, they were 6-0,” explained Doering, who at 16 years of age, is the youngest men’s skip competing here. “They’re almost leading the percentages for every player in every category. We knew that was going to be tough, so we were happy to get the win over New Brunswick (8-7, earlier in the day) just to go into the mindset against them that we had nothing to lose, really. We played like that, very little nerves and it really paid off, we played great yesterday.” On today’s contest against Saskatchewan, “I thought it was a good game. We started off a bit slow, maybe a bit tired after our back-to-back-to-back games. Other than the third end (when giving up three), I thought we regrouped really nicely and took it to them the rest of the game.” The Manitobans have another tough assignment this evening against Nova Scotia, as all four men’s and women’s teams are in the playoff hunt. In the other men’s game, New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Fredericton) clipped British Columbia (Josh Hozack of Victoria), 7-5. Round robin play continues at the Strathcona Paper Centre and Napanee & District Curling Club with draws at 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm.