Playoff picture far from settled at Juniors

With five draws remaining in the round robin portion of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships, the playoff picture is still a little cloudy. Although Alberta (Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton) and Manitoba (Kyle Doering of Winnipeg) are in the driver’s seat with 8-1 records in men’s, five other teams are scrapping for the other playoff berth.

Manitoba's Selena Kaatz who throws last stones for Shannon Birchard (photo: Mike Fitzpatrick)

In women’s, though, it’s a little clearer. With Alberta (Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer) and British Columbia (Kesa Van Osch of Nanaimo) enjoying byes, Manitoba (Shannon Birchard of Winnipeg) jumped into a three-way tie for the lead, all at 7-2, after a win over Nova Scotia. The first place teams will advance directly to their respective finals, while the second and third place teams meet in semi-finals. In men’s Draw 15 action Wednesday evening, Manitoba outlasted Nova Scotia (Stuart Thompson of Halifax), 6-5 in an extra end to remain tied for first, while Northern Ontario (Brennan Wark of Thunder Bay) won its third in a row, 11-3 over Northwest Territories (Daniel Murray of Yellowknife), to improve to 6-3, the same as Nova Scotia. Yukon (Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse) missed an opportunity to join the leaders when it lost to New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Fredericton), 8-6 in an extra end. Yukon dropped to 5-3 while New Brunswick went to 4-5. Idle Quebec (Félix Asselin of Montreal) and Ontario (Brett DeKoning of Omemee) are 5-4. Prince Edward Island (Alex Matters of Charlottetown) won its third game, 6-5 over Saskatchewan (Brady Scharback of Saskatoon). In women’s, Manitoba won a critical battle with Nova Scotia (Emily Dwyer of Halifax), 10-5, as both teams entered tonight’s fracas with 6-2 marks, a game behind the idle leaders. The result meant Nova Scotia dropped to fourth with a 6-3 record. New Brunswick (Jennifer Armstrong of Rothesay) kept its slim playoff hopes alive with a 7-5 win over Yukon (Sarah Koltun), upping its record to 5-4, the same as Ontario (Jamie Sinclair of Manotick). Yukon, in turn, fell to 4-4.

NB skip Jennifer Armstrong (photo: Mike Fitzpatrick)

In games amongst non playoff-bound teams, Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury) prevailed over Northwest Territories (Taryn Williams of Yellowknife), 11-5 while Prince Edward Island (Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall) was a 12-5 winner over Saskatchewan (Kristen Streifel of Saskatoon). The round robin continues with three draws at the Strathcona Paper Centre and Napanee & District Curling Club on Thursday, at 10:00 am, 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm, and two draws on Friday, at 8:00 am and 1:00 pm.