Manitoba locks up berth in women’s final at Juniors

Manitoba, skipped by Shannon Birchard of Winnipeg, stole one in the 10th end to defeat Yukon, 8-7, claim first place and earn a bye to Saturday’s final [live on TSN (RDS in Quebec) at 7:00 pm ET] at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Napanee. Manitoba will now await the winner of the semi-final between Alberta’s Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer and British Columbia’s Kesa Van Osch of Nanaimo, Saturday at 2:00 pm. Manitoba and Alberta finished tied for first with 10-2 records, but Manitoba was awarded first place for its 9-5 round robin win. British Columbia wound up third at 8-4. “We were controlling our own fate this game,” said the 17-year-old Birchard, who throws third stones while Selena Kaatz fires fourth rocks. “They played really well. It was a tough game. We were lucky in that last one that she (Yukon skip Sarah Koltun) was a little heavy and we got the steal. We struggled a little bit in the eighth end, and in the beginning, too. “It feels great (first place). I mean, it’s really unreal, kind of, to think that we’re first in our first time here, except for (lead) Mariah (Mondor, making her second appearance). It’s pretty amazing. We have a nice long break until the final.” On the men’s side, Alberta, skipped by Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton, finished first with an 11-1 mark to advance directly to Sunday’s final, also at 7:00 pm ET, live on TSN (RDS in Quebec). However, there was a three-way tie for second amongst Northern Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, all with 9-3 records. The logjam came about when Northern Ontario (Brennan Wark of Thunder Bay) defeated New Brunswick, 12-7 while Yukon beat Manitoba, 5-4 in the final draw of the round robin. Subsequently, Northern Ontario, which had beaten both Manitoba and Nova Scotia during the round robin, was placed second and advanced to the semi-final on Sunday at 2:00 pm. Manitoba (Kyle Doering of Winnipeg) and Nova Scotia (Stuart Thompson of Halifax) will now meet in a tiebreaker for third place Saturday at 2:00 pm, the same time as the women’s semi-final, to determine the other semi-finalist. “Yes, kind of disappointed but we’re still in a tiebreaker,” said the 16-year-old Doering, the youngest skip competing, about the loss. “We really struggled coming out of the gate. It’s tough not getting the hammer in the first couple of ends. We just didn’t have it. Came out flat again. The Yukon skip (Thomas Scoffin) played great. When you’re down 3-0, it’s very tough to come back, especially against these teams. “We just have to come out (tomorrow) and play our game, hopefully it will go well, hopefully we’ll get some breaks. It’s a little harder now (to win it all). It’s an extra game, but in the provincials the extra games were pretty good for us.” All playoff games, including the tiebreaker, will take place at the Strathcona Paper Centre. The women’s final standings, behind the three leaders, showed Ontario (Jamie Sinclair of Manotick) and Nova Scotia (Emily Dwyer of Halifax) tied with 7-5 records. Saskatchewan (Kristen Streifel of Saskatoon), Northern Ontario (Kendra Lilly of Sudbury) and Prince Edward Island (Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall) were next at 6-6. New Brunswick (Jennifer Armstrong of Rothesay) was 5-7, while Quebec (Roxane Perron of Ste-Foy) and Yukon (Sarah Koltun of Whitehorse) wound up 4-8. Newfoundland/Labrador (Erica Trickett of St. John’s) finished 3-9 and Northwest Territories (Taryn Williams of Yellowknife) was 2-10. In men’s, behind the four playoff teams, came Saskatchewan (Brady Scharback of Saskatoon), Yukon (Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse) and Quebec (Félix Asselin of Montreal), all at 7-5, with Ontario (Brett DeKoning of Omemee) at 6-6. New Brunswick (Josh Barry of Fredericton) finished 5-7, Prince Edward Island (Alex Matters of Charlottetown) was 3-9, Northwest Territories (Daniel Murray of Yellowknife) and Newfoundland/Labrador (Colin Thomas of St. John’s) were 2-10 and British Columbia (Josh Hozack of Victoria) was 1-11.