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Northern Ontario wins extra-end thriller over Manitoba at 2016 Canadian Junior Championships

Thursday Jan 28 2016
by Curling Canada Release

MANITOBA SUMMARY: Matt Dunstone's Manitobans lost an extra end game to Northern Ontario on the evening draw. Both teams are now 8-1. Manitoba is assured of at least a semi-final game. In the final round robin game tomorrow, a Manitoba win and a Northern Ontario loss will give Manitoba a bye to the final. Manitoba plays 7-2 British Columbia while Northern Ontario plays 6-3 Quebec.

Abby Ackland's Manitobans lost so there record is 7-2 behind BC and Nova Scotia at 8-1. An Ackland win Friday morning against Nova Scotia would mean they have a semi-final berth. With a loss, a three team tiebreaker for thirds place is possible.

**
THURSDAY: STRATFORD, Ont. — There was a distinct buzz in the air Thursday night at the Stratford Rotary Complex, and Tanner Horgan’s Northern Ontario team played a major role in generating it.

 On an evening jam-packed with Championship Round showdowns at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario, Horgan’s team from Copper Cliff took an extra end to beat previously unbeaten 2013 Canadian champ Matt Dunstone of Manitoba (Winnipeg) 7-5.

 The win left Horgan’s team — third (and younger brother) Jake Horgan, second Nick Bissonnette, lead Maxime Blais and coach (and dad) Gerry Horgan — tied with Manitoba at 8-1. Both teams are assured of semifinal berths, but Northern Ontario can clinch first, and a bye to Sunday’s gold-medal game (3 p.m. EST, TSN/RDS) with a win Friday morning against Quebec’s Félix Asselin (Montreal). Manitoba would get the bye to the final with a win over B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (7-2; New Westminster/Langley) and a Northern Ontario loss.

“That was a lot of fun to play,” said the smiling Tanner Horgan, 17. “It was at such a high level — both teams played really well.”

That they did, but it was Horgan who made the bigger shots against the more experienced Dunstone — none bigger than his stunning raise double-takeout in the eighth end that forced Dunstone to draw for a single.

 It was a game, suggested Horgan, that should give his team a boost going into its round-robin finale on Friday, and the playoff weekend.

“For sure,” he nodded. “Up until this point, those guys were undefeated, and now other teams might say, ‘Wow, Northern Ontario can beat them.’ I think that gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.”

B.C., meanwhile, fell victim to Thursday’s feel-good story as Quebec rattled off its second big win of the day despite Asselin playing with his right (throwing) shoulder in a sling due to a dislocated shoulder he suffered late Wednesday night playing table tennis. Quebec improved to 6-3 with a 9-5 win, and can force a third-place tiebreaker against B.C. with a win over Northern Ontario and a B.C. loss to Manitoba.

 In the other Championship Round games, Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay (5-4; Edmonton) downed New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud (4-5; Moncton) 6-4; and Saskatchewan’s Jake Hersikorn (5-4; Saskatoon) was a 5-1 winner over Ontario’s Doug Kee (4-5; Navan).

 In the women’s Championship Round, meanwhile, two teams — B.C.’s Sarah Daniels (New Westminster) and Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (Halifax) — clinched semifinal berths with wins on Thursday night to improve to 8-1.

 B.C. needed an extra end to beat Manitoba’s Abby Ackland (7-2; Winnipeg) 8-5. Ackland had an open hit to score three for the win in the 10th end but rolled out to score only the game-tying deuce.

“Today was a very stressful game; Manitoba played very well, but I think we were able to keep up,” said Daniels, who along with her third Marika Van Osch won bronze at the 2014 Canadian Juniors in Liverpool, N.S. “Now, we’ll just keep moving forward and doing what we’re doing. We’re sticking together — miss, make, we’re always about team.”

Daniels said the experience of 2014 — she played second for Van Osch’s older sister Kalia — will help the team this year.

“Just playing on TV before has really given us that confidence to not be too camera-shy,” said Daniels. “Big games? I’m just happy to be there, win or lose.”

Nova Scotia, meanwhile, took four in the seventh end en route to an 11-4 win over New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (6-3; Fredericton).

 B.C. would clinch first and a berth in Sunday’s 10 a.m. gold-medal game with a win Friday morning against New Brunswick, while Nova Scotia needs a win over Manitoba and a B.C. loss to advance to the women’s final.

 Manitoba, meanwhile, can advance to Saturday’s 2 p.m. semifinal (the men’s semi is at 7 p.m.) with a win, but a Manitoba loss and wins by New Brunswick and/or Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges (6-3; Laval-sur-le-Lac) would force tiebreakers.

 Quebec kept its hopes alive with an 8-5 win over Saskatchewan’s Kourtney Fesser (4-5; Saskatoon). In the other women’s Championship Round game, Alberta’s Selena Sturmay (5-4; Aidrie) beat Ontario’s Courtney Auld (4-5; Thornhill) 9-2.

 In Seeding Pool games, Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen (2-7; Iqaluit) capped off her round robin with her team’s second victory, 11-3 over the Yukon’s Alyssa Meger (2-7; Whitehorse). The win nailed down the unofficial Polar Cup for Nunavut, which also had a win over the Northwest Territories.

 In men’s Seeding Pool play, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Greg Smith (5-4; Stephenville) was a 17-4 winner over Matt Miller of the Northwest Territories (1-8; Inuvik).

 The six teams of each gender that didn’t make the Championship Round played Seeding Pool games to determine final rankings and set the pools for next year’s Canadian Juniors in Victoria.

 The Championship Round wraps up on Friday morning with the final round-robin draw at 9 a.m. Tiebreakers, if necessary, would be played at 2 p.m. 
 
**
MANITOBA SUMMARY: Matt Dunstone's Manitobans defeated Saskatchewan and with an unbeaten 8-0 record are now assured of at least a semi-final berth. Northern Ontario and British Columbia are right behind at 7-1. Manitba plays Northern Ontario on the evening draw Wednesday.
 The 21-year-old University of Montreal student dislocated his right (throwing shoulder) late Wednesday night playing table tennis at the players’ hotel, and spent three hours in hospital overnight getting it treated.

Abby Ackland's Manitobans also defeated Saskatchewan and their 7-1 record puts them in a 3-way tie for first place with BC and Nova Scotia. With teams at 6-2 and 5-3, there is not yet a certainty of Manitoba making the playoff round. Manitoba plays BC on the evening draw Wednesday.
**
STRATFORD, Ont. — As gutsy performances in the history of the Canadian Junior Curling Championships go, you’d be hard-pressed to top the one put in by Quebec skip Félix Asselin on Thursday afternoon. 

 A few hours before a crucial Championship Round game against New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud, Asselin showed up for a physio treatment at the Stratford Rotary Complex, and threw a few rocks to see if he could play.

 He decided to push on, and played the game with a sling to stabilize the arm, removing it (with the help of a volunteer) only for his deliveries.

 It didn’t start off so well; Asselin missed his last shot in the first and second ends, and New Brunswick would put five on the board in the third end to go up 6-1.

 But in one of the most stirring comebacks of the 2016 Canadian Juniors, presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario, Asselin drew for three in the 10th end for a stunning 10-9 win over New Brunswick to stay alive in the hunt for playoff berth.

“Sure, we had some excuses. But that would be easy,” said Quebec coach (and Asselin’s father) Benoit Forget. “But there’s an old saying that losers find reasons. Winners find ways. That’s what we did.”

With the win, Quebec (the Montreal team is rounded out by third Nick den Hartog, second Maxence Martel and lead Émile Asselin, Felix’s brother) improved to 5-3 and on the playoff bubble behind Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone (8-0; Winnipeg), B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (7-1; New Westminster/Langley) and Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan (7-1; Copper Cliff).

“We’re still here. We’re still fighting for our lives,” said Félix Asselin. “We need to win both games; obviously four losses won’t make it.”

New Brunswick dropped to 4-4 with the loss. The top three teams will make the playoffs, with the first-place team going directly to Sunday’s gold-medal game. The semifinals are Saturday.

 The injury prevented Asselin from sweeping, and also gave him troubles throwing his outturn, although that, he said, was more due to the tape job under his shirt.

 The injury came out of nowhere, although he’s had previous shoulder issues.

“I’ve been playing (table tennis) every single day since we got here, and I was playing like I usually do,” he said. “Somehow it just happened. I went for a forehand and somehow it popped out.”

He and his dad went to the hospital and didn’t get back to the hotel until 3:30 a.m.

 The physio treatment and the brief on-ice session convinced Asselin he could play. Not that his dad could have talked him out of it.

“It’s the blood in his veins,” said an obviously proud Forget. “And I know I can’t stop it. If there was any way he could play? We were better off with him playing the way he could than without him. And I know that’s where he wants to be. Let’s do it.”

Manitoba, meanwhile, wrapped up at least a semifinal berth with a 6-3 win over Saskatchewan’s Jake Hersikorn (4-4; Saskatoon). Dunstone, the 2013 Canadian champ, scored three in the ninth end to break the game open.

 B.C. and Northern Ontario both had byes.

 In women’s Championship Round play, Manitoba’s Abby Ackland (Winnipeg) created a three-way tie for top spot with B.C.’s Sarah Daniels (New Westminster) and Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (Chester), with all three teams at 7-1 (B.C. and Nova Scotia were idle Thursday afternoon).

 Manitoba scored deuces in the second and sixth ends en route to a 6-5 triumph over Saskatchewan’s Kourtney Fesser (4-4; Saskatoon).

 In other Championship Round play, New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (6-2; Fredericton) dropped out of the lead pack after losing 10-4 to Ontario’s Courtney Auld (4-4; Thornhill).

 Meanwhile, in Seeding Round men’s play, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Greg Smith (4-4; Stephenville) shaded P.E.I.’s Matt MacLean (3-5; O’Leary) 9-8; Nova Scotia’s Matthew Manuel (4-4; Halifax) was a 10-3 winner over Matt Miller of the Northwest Territories (1-7; Yellowknife); and the Yukon’s Brayden Klassen (1-8; Yellowknife) beat Nunavut’s Arthur Siksik (1-8; Rankin Inlet).

 In the women’s Seeding Round, P.E.I.’s Katie Fullerton (4-4; Cornwall) shaded Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen (1-7; Iqaluit) 6-5; Northern Ontario’s Megan Smith (4-4; Sudbury) turned back the Yukon’s Alyssa Meger (2-6; Whitehorse) 13-6; and Newfoundland/Labrador’s Brooke Godsland (2-7; St. John’s) was a 13-2 winner over Zoey Walsh of the Northwest Territories (0-9; Yellowknife).

 The six teams of each gender that didn’t make the Championship Round are playing Seeding Pool games to determine final rankings and set the pools for next year’s Canadian Juniors in Victoria.

 The Championship and Seeding Rounds continue on Thursday with a draw at 6:30 p.m. (all times EST).
 

**
TUESDAY EVG - MANITOBA SUMMARY: Matt Dunstone's Manitobans are the last undefeated team in the Canadian Juniors. With a win today they improved to a 7-0 record. They must win one of their last three games to assure themselves of a final three playoff berth. British Columbia and Northern Ontario are both at 7-1. Three teams at 4-3 can catch but not pass the Manitobans.

Manitoba's Abby Ackland also won their only game of the day to improve their record to 6-1. BC and Nova Scotia both have 7-1 records while new Brunswick is tied with Manitoba at 6-1.
**
WEDNESDAY: Playoff races heating up at 2016 Canadian Junior Championships — The standings boards are suddenly proving to be very intriguing at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario. 
 Wednesday night at the Stratford Rotary Complex, two teams — B.C.’s men’s and women’s teams, as it turned out — fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.

 And with just three draws remaining before the playoffs get underway on Saturday, there should be plenty of scoreboard watching over the next two days. Or so you’d think.

“I honestly am pretty zoned out to all of that,” said Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay (Chester), whose team (third Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess, lead Janique LeBlanc, coach Andrew Atherton) improved to 7-1 in the women’s Championship Round on Wednesday night with a 9-3 win over Alberta’s Kelsey Sturmay (4-4; Airdrie). “I’m kind of more focused on my games. Sometimes I’ll find out what happened in the other games, but I’m not really paying too much attention to it. I know we can only control what we do on the ice. Watching and paying attention to other teams’ games isn’t going to help us.”

Nova Scotia’s only loss came Tuesday against B.C.’s Sarah Daniels (New Westminster), whose team entered the Championship Round unbeaten before falling 7-4 to Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges (Laval-sur-le-Lac) on Wednesday night. Quebec improved to 5-3 and still alive — barely — in the chase for the three playoff spots. The first-place teams in each gender will advance to Sunday’s gold-medal games, while the second- and third-place teams will meet in semifinals on Saturday.

“It was a tough game, and we played well — not our best game, but it worked,” said St-Georges, who’s backed up by third (and sister) Cynthia St-Georges, second Meaghan Rivett, lead Emily Riley and coach (and dad) Michel St-Georges). “B.C. is a very good team, so to win this game was really important for us and we’re really proud of that.”

Quebec, though, will need some help to get in the playoff mix. Behind the leading pair of B.C. and Nova Scotia is a pair of 6-1 teams — New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (Fredericton), who had a bye Wednesday night, and Manitoba’s Abby Ackland (Winnipeg), who was an 8-6 victor over Ontario’s Courtney Auld (3-4; Thornhill).

 In the men’s Championship Round, Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone (Winnipeg) is the lone unbeaten skip at 7-0 (he had a bye Wednesday night).

 B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (New Westminster/Langley), meanwhile, was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten by Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay (Edmonton, 4-4), who cruised to an 11-3 win.

 Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan (6-1; Copper Cliff) pulled into a tie for second with B.C. with a 6-4 win over Ontario’s Doug Kee (4-4; Navan). Manitoba, B.C. and Northern Ontario are all assured of tiebreaker berths.

 In the other Championship Round men’s game, Saskatchewan’s Jake Hersikorn (4-3; Saskatoon) scored four in the 10th end for an 8-5 win over Quebec’s Félix Asselin (4-3; Montreal).

 In Seeding Round women’s action, Prince Edward Island’s Katie Fullerton (3-4; Cornwall) shaded Zoey Walsh of the Northwest Territories (0-8; Hay River) 7-6, while Northern Ontario’s Megan Smith (3-4; Sudbury) scored two in the 10th to beat Brooke Godsland of Newfoundland/Labrador (1-7; St. John’s) 7-6.

 In men’s Seeding Round play, Prince Edward Island’s Matt MacLean (3-4; O’Leary) turned back Nunavut’s Arthur Siksik (1-7; Rankin Inlet) 12-6; and Nova Scotia’s Matthew Manuel (3-4; Halifax) beat the Yukon’s Brayden Klassen (0-8; Whitehorse) 12-6.

 The six teams of each gender that didn’t make the Championship Round are playing Seeding Pool games to determine final rankings and set the pools for next year’s Canadian Juniors in Victoria.

 The Championship and Seeding Rounds continue on Thursday with draws at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (all times EST). 
 
**
MANITOBA SUMMARY: Matt Dunstone's men won their final preliminary round game to finish 6-0 and advance to the Championship round. British Columbia topped the other group at 6-0. The top four in each group advance and play the teams from the other grouping. Records so far carry forward.  Manitoba will now play Northern Ontario (5-1) New Brunswick (4-3) and Saskatchewan (3-3). Behind Manitoba, Quebec & Ontario (3-3) and Alberta (3-3) also advanced.

In the Junior women's event, Manitoba's Abby Ackland team split the two final games to finish 5-1. BC is also unbeaten in the other girls pool. Manitoba will play BC (6-0), Nova Scotia (5-1), Saskathcewan (4-2), and Ontario (3-3). New Brunswick and Manitoba finished 5-1, Alberta and Quebec also advanced with 4-2 records.

**
TUESDAY: Nunavut women make history at 2016 Canadian Juniors — This was no normal post-game team hug. This was four years of history being pushed aside by Team Nunavut, finally able to savour a long-desired victory at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships, presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario.

 And it was only fitting that Sadie Pinksen and Christianne West were in the middle of it on Tuesday night at the Stratford Rotary Complex.

 The skip and third respectively for the Nunavut women’s team have been on the ice for each one of Nunavut’s 32 consecutive losses at the Canadian Juniors.

 So Tuesday night’s 7-3 win over Zoey Walsh of the Northwest Territories (0-6; Hay River) was, to say the least, satisfying.

“It was great, it was wonderful,” said Pinksen, who made her nationals debut four years ago as a 13-year-old in Fort McMurray, Alta., when Nunavut played for the first time at the Canadian Juniors. “I’m really proud of my team to finally have a national win. We played a great team tonight, and I think we played great. We’re really proud of ourselves.”

With just cause, as Nunavut’s curling program, still in its relative infancy compared to the rest of the country, continues to make strides. Pinksen’s Iqaluit team, rounded out by West, second Kaitlin MacDonald, lead Melicia Elizaga and coach Donalda Mattie, has been very competitive here, and finally was rewarded on Tuesday night.

“It’s hard to go out there and lose, time after time after time,” said Mattie. “And these girls keep fighting back. They’re pretty resilient. I’m happy for all of them — they deserve this win, for sure.”

No one more than Pinksen and West, who’ve endured the losses with grace and class, while never losing the desire to get better.

“It was definitely a long journey to this point, but we stayed really strong and we’ve taken a lot from every game we played up until now, and that definitely was a factor in the way we played today,” said Pinksen, who’ll be the alternate for the Nunavut women’s team at the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Grande Prairie, Alta.

“We knew it could be a long time (before the first win), but we were willing to fight for that. We did, and I’m really happy that we kept trying.”

Nunavut finished the Preliminary Round with a 1-5 record in Pool A, and will go into the Seeding Pool to determine the final rankings for the 2017 Canadian Juniors in Victoria.

 The top four teams in each pool advanced to the Championship Round for a further four-game partial round robin from Wednesday through Friday, with their earlier records carried forward.

 Meanwhile, the six teams of each gender that didn’t qualify for the Championship Round meet in the Seeding Round.

 The top three teams in each gender from the Championship Round, with the first-place teams advancing directly to Sunday’s gold-medal games, while the second- and third-place teams will meet in the semifinals on Saturday.

 The players from the non-playoff teams will play in a mixed doubles tournament Saturday and Sunday.

 New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (5-1; Fredericton) had clinched the Pool A title earlier in the day over Manitoba’s Abby Ackland, but Ackland’s Winnipeg team came back in the evening draw to nail down second place, also at 5-1, with a 9-6 win over Alberta’s Selena Sturmay (4-2; Airdrie). Alberta also goes to the Championship Round.

 Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges (4-2; Laval-sur-le-Lac) grabbed the fourth berth with an 11-5 triumph over Northern Ontario’s Megan Smith (2-4; Sudbury).

 In Pool B, B.C.’s Sarah Daniels finished an unbeaten Preliminary Round with an 8-4 win over Ontario’s Courtney Auld (3-3; Thornhill). Ontario finished fourth to move into the Championship Round.

 Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (5-1; Chester) finished second, while Saskatchewan’s Kourtney Fesser (4-2; Saskatoon) was third; both had byes on Tuesday night.

 In the other Pool B game, P.E.I.’s Katie Fullerton (2-4; Cornwall) was an 11-5 winner over the Yukon’s Alyssa Meger (1-5; Whitehorse). Both teams will go to the Seeding Round, along with Newfoundland/Labrador’s Brooke Godsland (0-6; St. John’s).

 In men’s play, Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone (Winnipeg), the 2013 Canadian junior champ, finished off a perfect Preliminary Round in Pool A with a 9-3 win over Quebec’s Félix Asselin (4-2; Montreal). Quebec finished second in the pool.

 Ontario’s Doug Kee (4-2; Navan), meanwhile, nailed down third with a 7-4 win over Nova Scotia’s Matthew Manuel (2-4; Halifax), and Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay (3-3; Edmonton) was fourth.

 Nova Scotia will be joined by Newfoundland/Labrador’s Greg Smith (2-4; Stephenville) and Nunavut’s Arthur Siksik (0-6; Rankin Inlet) in the Seeding Round. Newfoundland/Labrador beat Nunavut 14-0 to close out the Preliminary Round.

 In Pool B, B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (New Westminster/Langley) finished on top at 6-0 (he had the bye Tuesday night), while Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan (5-1; Copper Cliff), who also was idle Tuesday night, was second.

 New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud (4-2; Moncton) clinched third with a 10-6 win over Saskatchewan’s Jake Hersikorn (3-3; Saskatoon). Saskatchewan earned the last Championship Round berth.

 Prince Edward Island’s Matt MacLean (2-4; O’Leary) knocked off the Yukon’s Brayden Klassen (0-6; Whitehorse) 10-4 in the other Pool B game. Those two teams, along with Matt Miller of the Northwest Territories (1-5; Inuvik), will play in the Seeding Round.

 The Championship and Seeding Rounds kick off on Wednesday with two draws — at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (all times EST). 
 
**
MANITOBA Monday Night SUMMARY: Matt Dunstone's team is 5-0 with one game left to play in the preliminary round against Quebec (3-1) on the evening draw Tuesday. The Manitoba men have already qualified for the championship round. Abby Ackland's women's tream are at 4-0. On Tuesday they play New Brunswick and Alberta. Both teams are at 4-1. Team Ackland will advance to the championship round but needs a win in at least one of the games to stay at or near the top of the pool.

In the Junior Championship format, the top four teams in each pool advance to play the top four teams from the other pool. Each teams carries forward its preliminary round record and after that round of play, the top three teams advance to the playoff round.

**
MONDAY EVG: New Brunswick women riding hot streak at 2016 Canadian Juniors — New Brunswick skip Justine Comeau had two priorities as she was watching her final shot Monday night at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario. At the other end, her vice-skip Emma Le Blanc was in the midst of an awkward fall onto the ice, tripping on a moving rock send in motion by Comeau’s takeout.

 But the fate of her teammate was No. 2 on Comeau’s list of concerns.

“I wanted to make sure I made the shot first,” said Comeau with a laugh. “Then I could worry about Emma.”

Well, good news all around for the New Brunswick women’s team — an 8-5 win over Northern Ontario’s Megan Smith (1-3; Sudbury) to run New Brunswick’s win streak to four, and Le Blanc was just fine, thank you.

 "I have no idea what happened,” said Le Blanc. “I think I tripped on a rock. It’s usually Justine who’s falling. Last year in the preliminary playdowns, she fell down and nearly broke her tailbone.

“I’m just really embarrassed. Happy about winning, but embarrassed!”

No reason to be, of course — it’s happened to every curler at one time or another, and few of them have had the chance to do it at a national championship, for a team that appears to be bound for the Championship Round with a 4-1 record.

“That was a must-win for us,” said Comeau, 17, whose team includes second (and sister) Brigitte Comeau, lead Keira McLaughlin and coach (and dad) Tim Comeau. “We know Manitoba (4-0, and New Brunswick’s opponent on Tuesday afternoon) is a really tough team, and the way we’ve been playing, we knew we would have a chance tonight. It was crucial to win that game.”

Comeau is back at her second straight Canadian Juniors after being the only skip to beat two-time world junior champ Kelsey Rocque at last year’s event in Corner Brook, N.L.

 It didn’t start off so hot here as New Brunswick was blown out 12-3 by Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges in its opener, but it’s been nothing but wins ever since.

“We started off really, really rough but we’ve been able to pick it up,” said Comeau. “I’m playing better; Emma’s playing a lot better, and the other two are playing the same as they were before.

“We don’t really have any expectations, I guess, but we do expect to do well and play well, but we’re not worried about the standings. We just expect to play well and make shots.”

Manitoba’s Abby Ackland (Winnipeg; a 15-5 winner over Nunavut’s winless Sadie Pinksen of Iqaluit on Monday night), New Brunswick and Alberta’s Selena Sturmay (4-1; Airdrie) are on top of Pool A going into the final day of Preliminary Round play.

 The top three teams in each pool, plus two teams with the next best won-lost records, advance to the Championship Round for a further four-game partial round robin from Wednesday through Friday, with their earlier records carried forward.

 Meanwhile, the six teams of each gender that don’t qualify for the Championship Round meet in a Seeding Round to determine ranking for the 2017 Canadian Juniors in Victoria.

 Quebec (3-2; Laval-sur-le-Lac) is close behind after a 15-4 win over Zoey Walsh of the Northwest Territories (0-4; Hay River) on Monday night.

 In Pool B, Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (Chester) leads the way at 5-0, while B.C.’s Sarah Daniels (4-0; New Westminster) also is unbeaten. While Nova Scotia had the bye Monday night, B.C. cruised to a 13-3 win over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Brooke Godsland (0-5; St. John’s). In the other Pool B game, Ontario’s Courtney Auld (3-1; Thornhill) was a 14-4 winner over the Yukon’s Alyssa Meger (0-4; Whitehorse).

 In men’s play, both pool leaders — Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone (5-0; Winnipeg) in Pool A and B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (5-0; New Westminster/Langley) were idle Monday night.

 In Pool A play, Quebec’s Félix Asselin (3-1; Montreal) earned an 11-0 win over Nunavut’s Arthur Siksik (0-5; Rankin Inlet); Ontario’s Doug Kee (3-2; Navan) put together a 7-3 win over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Greg Smith (1-3; Stephenville); and Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay (3-2; Edmonton) needed an extra end for a 9-8 win over Nova Scotia’s Matthew Manuel (1-3; Halifax).

 In Pool B, New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud (3-1; Moncton) downed Matt Miller of the Northwest Territories (0-5; Inuvik) 12-1; and Saskatchewan’s Jake Hersikorn (3-1; Saskatoon) turned back Brayden Klassen of the Yukon (0-4; Whitehorse) 8-3.

 Action at the 2016 Canadian Juniors continues Tuesday with draws at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (all times EST).

**
Manitoba men continue to set pace at 2016 Canadian Juniors — Kyle Doering is hardly shy about explaining one of the more awkward, and potentially embarrassing, situations that you can have in the sport of curling. The 20-year-old Team Manitoba vice-skip (throwing second rocks), while playing at the juvenile (U-18) provincials a few years ago, was in the enviable position of having seven rocks in the rings, and about to deliver the eighth for curling’s rarest feat — an eight-ender.

 And he missed. Light. Ouch.

“My teammates at the time still talk about it to this day,” a smiling Doering said on Monday at the Stratford Rotary Complex, moments after helping Matt Dunstone’s Manitoba men’s team improve to 5-0 at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, presented by Egg Farmers of Ontario, with a 9-4 win over Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay.  “ ‘Remember when we had that eight-ender chance?’ Oh, yeah, I remember.”

His current teammate Colton Lott was holding the broom that day for Doering’s attempt.

“Draw to the eight-foot,” recalled Lott. “We hadn’t even played a shot there the whole game, and it was an outturn coming into the middle. It was frosty out there. They just pounded it the whole way and it was just a little short. It’s one of those chances you get; you make it, you make it. You miss it? Oh, well. It was a complete guess at the weight.”

Doering, a bronze-medallist at the 2012 Canadian Juniors, had mixed emotions as he prepared to throw the shot; the game was already in the bag and it was a given his opponents were going to shake hands afterward, and he didn’t want to rub it in, so he lowered his intensity level despite the potential thrill of the eight-ender out of respect for his opponents.

“I still tried to make it as best as I could, but way out in the weeds on Sheet 1 at the Assiniboine Club? That was all she wrote,” he said with a laugh. “If I get another chance? Oh, I’ll be intense. I’m going to follow that rock down the ice, take my time, and I’m going to make that shot, that’s for sure. Because I know how rare it is.”

The win over Alberta (2-2)  clinched a championship round berth for the Manitobans (rounded out by lead Rob Gordon and coach Calvin Edie), while Alberta dropped to 2-2 in Pool A.

“I thought we played pretty well that game,” said Doering. “We had a few unfortunate picks, but other than that, I thought we played pretty solid. And they played amazing; I give them full credit. We’ve had a great start so far. But it’s early in the event, right? We’re not even half-way there. We gotta keep ’er going.”

The top three teams in each pool, plus two teams with the next best won-lost records, advance to the Championship Round for a further four-game partial round robin from Wednesday through Friday, with their earlier records carried forward.

 Upon completion of the Championship Round, the top team of each gender advances to its respective final, while the second- and third-place finishers meet in a semifinal to determine the other finalist.

 Meanwhile, the six teams of each gender that don’t qualify for the Championship Round meet in a Seeding Round to determine ranking for the 2017 Canadian Juniors in Victoria.

 All members of the non-playoff teams will then compete in a Mixed Doubles competition on Saturday and Sunday.

 In Pool B, B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (New Westminster/Langley) also is at 5-0 after cruising to a 10-2 win over the Yukon’s Brayden Klassen (0-3; Whitehorse), while Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan (4-1; Copper Cliff) kept pace with the leaders by beating the Northwest Territories’ Matt Miller (0-4; Inuvik) 13-3.

 In other men’s play, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Greg Smith (1-2; Stephenville) hung on for a 9-8 win over previously unbeaten Félix Asselin of Quebec (2-1; Montreal); and New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud (2-1; Moncton) scored four in the ninth end for a 7-4 win over P.E.I.’s Matt MacLean (1-4; O’Leary).

 In women’s play, Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (5-0; Chester) continues to set the pace in Pool B following a 12-2 win over the Yukon’s Alyssa Meger (0-3; Whitehorse); B.C.’s Sarah Daniels (3-0; New Westminster) needed an extra end to beat P.E.I.’s Katie Fullerton (1-4; Cornwall); New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (3-1; Fredericton) handed Alberta’s Selena Sturmay (4-1; Airdrie) her first loss, a 6-5 extra-end triumph; Saskatchewan’s Kourtney Fesser (3-2; Saskatoon) doubled Newfoundland/Labrador’s Brooke Godsland (0-4; St. John’s) 10-5; and Manitoba’s Abby Ackland (3-0; Winnipeg) toppled Zoey Walsh of the Northwest Territories (0-3; Hay River) 13-4.
 
 

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