Ontario Teams Strong Out Of The Gate

Both Ontario teams are on top of their respective pools at the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Liverpool, N.S., with both the men and women opening play today with a pair of wins.Ryan McCrady’s Ottawa foursome from the Rideau CC defeated Nunavut’s Jamie Airut 10-1 while on the next sheet over, Molly Greenwood’s K-W Granite team breezed past P.E.I.’s Veronica Smith 8-1. McCrady is tied with Manitoba’s Braden Calvert while Greenwood is tied with 15-year-old Mary Fay of Nova Scotia, who edged a strong Manitoba foursome led by Meaghan Brezden (with Abby Ackland delivering fourth stones). Fay took lead with a single point in the eighth end, then stole the key point in the ninth, now up 5-3 coming home which is how the game ended. Manitoba drops to 1-1. IMG_5935 There were wild finishes in two other women’s games. The Northwest Territories’ Carina McKay-Saturnino stunned previously unbeaten Kristen Streifel of Saskatchewan. Leading 7-3, McKay-Saturnino surrendered three points in the seventh end, then was in trouble in the eighth end when she had to leave the game with illness. Both skip’s stones were delivered by the second and third respectively but the Territories still gave up a game-tying steal of two. The threesome of Karly King Simpson, Rayna Vittrekwa and Hilary Charlie regrouped, blanking the ninth end, and played a decent 10th end, forcing Streifel to attempt a difficult draw to try and steal the winning point. She wrecked on a stone in the top of the house leaving NWT winners at 9-7 and a  very rare win over powerhouse Saskatchewan in junior women’s curling. Northern Ontario’s Krysta Burns squared off in her first  national junior championship game, facing New Brunswick’s Jessica Daigle. Burns had a comfortable lead at 5-2 playing the eighth end when the Fredericton skip grabbed four points to jump in the lead at 6-5. Then disaster struck the NB team with the most innocent score of four points posted by the team from Sudbury. A simple hit and stay would have left Burns a shot to score only one point, but Daigle hit and rolled out. With the last stone of the end, Burns angled raised her own corner guard on to her own stone in the house and that stone then removed Daigle’s shot stone. Amazingly, the delivered stone rolled into the house to complete the count of four. The final score was 10-6. In other games, BC’s Kalia Van Osch is also 2-0 on top of her pool with a 6-3 win over Quebec’s Camille Boisvert. Van Osch scored three in the ninth end to earn the win. Quebec is 0-2. Yukon’s Sarah Koltun earned her first win 15-2 over Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen. Koltun is 1-1 and Pinksen is 0-2. In the only other men’s game Saturday night, the host province’s Robert Mayhew needed only eight ends to dispatch NWT’s Matthew Miller 8-2. Mayhew is 1-1 and Miller drops to 0-2. Round-robin games are taking place at both Queens Place Emera Centre and the Liverpool Curling Club in the beautiful South Shore region of Nova Scotia. The teams have been seeded (based on last year’s results) into two seven-team pools for each gender and will first play a six-game round robin within each pool from Saturday through Tuesday. The top three teams in each pool, plus two teams with the next best won-lost records, then advance to the Championship Round for a further four-game partial round robin from Wednesday through Friday, with their earlier records carried forward. Once the top three teams for each gender have been determined, all playoff games will be played at Queens Place Emera Centre. The women’s final is Saturday, Jan. 25, while the men’s final is Sunday, Jan. 26. Both finals will be televised live on TSN/RDS2 at 4 p.m. AST/3 p.m. EST. For the second consecutive year, the competition format involves all 14 Member Associations of the Canadian Curling Association (10 provinces, plus Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon). The full scoreboard can be viewed at https://www.curling.ca/scoreboard/. The leaderboard can be viewed at https://www.curling.ca/2014juniors-en/standings/