Alberta men control their own fate

They were the front-runners from the get-go at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships, until they lost their first game on Tuesday night to another hot squad, Manitoba, 9-5 in an extra end. But with Manitoba losing this morning to Quebec, Alberta has re-inherited its own fate, after a 9-4 victory Thursday afternoon over Northwest Territories. Now at 9-1, the Brendan Bottcher team from Edmonton can claim first place and a bye to Sunday evening’s final if they beat Yukon and New Brunswick in their final two round robin contests. “We’ve been having a pretty good week so far,” understated Bottcher, who finished with a 6-6 mark at the 2010 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Sorel-Tracy. “Nine wins looks like it will get you in the playoffs but we’re definitely looking for those last two (wins) and a bye into the final. “I think we’re a bit more comfortable here at the (Strathcona Paper Centre) arena (rather than the Curling Club). The ice is good at both venues, but we’re just more comfortable. It was nice to get back out here and we starting feeling a little bit better again.” After the loss to Manitoba (Kyle Doering of Winnipeg), Alberta has responded with three solid wins – 6-3 over Nova Scotia and a hard-fought 5-4 decision over Quebec, all at the Napanee & District Curling Club, prior to today’s triumph.

QC - skip Felix Asselin (photo: Mike Fitzpatrick)

“Quebec is a great team. They had us going for all 10 ends. We were tied with (hammer), coming home, and were able to get our one (for the win). “Manitoba is a really strong, young team. And they’ve just been curling great this week. They played fantastic against us. We know what we need to do to beat them, if that ends up being a playoff game somewhere down the road. We just need to get out and try to get the last two under our belt and get that bye to the final.” Manitoba, which had an afternoon bye, is at 8-2, while Northern Ontario (Brennan Wark of Thunder Bay) kept its streak alive, winning its fifth in a row, 8-6 over Newfoundland/Labrador, to move to 8-3. Nova Scotia (Stuart Thompson of Halifax), at 7-3 and Yukon (Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse), at 6-3 were both idle for Draw 17. In other games, Saskatchewan (Brady Scharback of Saskatoon) shaded British Columbia, 6-5 in an extra end, while New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Fredericton) slaughtered Prince Edward Island, 10-2.

AB skip Jocelyn Peterman (photo: Mike Fitzpatrick)

On the women’s side, Alberta (Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer) defeated Northwest Territories, 9-4 while British Columbia (Kesa Van Osch of Nanaimo) outlasted Saskatchewan, 9-7, as both teams joined Manitoba (Shannon Birchard of Winnipeg) atop the standings with 8-2 records. While Alberta faces Yukon and New Brunswick to close out the round robin, Manitoba first meets British Columbia in tonight’s 7:00 pm draw, a game which could ultimately determine first place. In other games, Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury) defeated Newfoundland/Labrador, 11-4 to improve to 5-6. Prince Edward Island (Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall) is now 6-5 after clipping New Brunswick, 7-5.