FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA. — Two teams from the Cornwall Curling Club need wins today to keep their playoff hopes alive at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior curling championships.
On the junior women’s side of the event, Veronica Smith and her team of Katie Fullerton, Sabrina Smith and Chloe McCloskey suffered a tough loss Monday morning, after coming back to steal a 6-5 win late Sunday night against Quebec.
The loss came at the hands of Northern Ontario, which took control early on the way to an 11-6 decision.
“The end that changed the game was end four,” said Smith about the defeat. “We gave up four points, although after that end we did not give up and played right until the end. The girls are playing well and we hope to continue to have many good games.”
The skip was proud of the victory late Sunday night, when the team scored two in the ninth end and stole the winning point in the tenth.
“It was huge to get a win at a national event,” she said. “We were all very happy to get one under our belts.”
The girls had a record of 1-2 heading into a late game Monday night, in a tie for fourth place (and just one game out of third) in its pool.
The top four teams in each of two pools advance to a crossover championship bracket that begins Wednesday.
Those that don’t advance will keep playing in a seeding bracket to collect ranking points for next year’s national event.
Smith said her rink will be positive the rest of the way.
“We will take each day, each game and each shot one at a time.”
Fullerton, the team’s vice, added the foursome knew coming into this event that nothing would come easy.
“Overall to this point we’ve been playing quite well, but we have struggled a bit at times. The other teams are evidently very talented and they take advantage of every oppurtunity. This is something we’ll hopefully do more of in our games to come.”
The junior boys skipped by Tyler Smith — along with Alex Sutherland and Jonathan Schut — fell to 1-3 with a 7-2 loss to Ontario in draw 6 Monday afternoon.
The P.E.I. team was forced to play with three players as second Alex Jenkins was ill.
“In the seventh end we got into a little bit of junk and were trying to make some finesse shots, which eventually came back to haunt us and give them a steal of two — turning the whole game around,” said Sutherland, the team’s vice.
“Other than the first game, the team has been playing better ever since,” he added. “Unfortunately, one of our players woke up sick (Monday) morning and since the competition doesn’t have a spare pool we were forced to play with three — making it a little more difficult. We are hoping to have him back for (our next games) and maybe we can walk away with some wins.”
The unit is in sixth place in its seven team pool — a tough spot that likely means it will need victories in its two remaining preliminary games to crack the top four.
“Our biggest key to success is to stay focused and to not get intimidated by the bigger teams,” Sutherland stated before the loss. “All the teams had to win to get here and everyone has a chance, so we have to take each game one rock at a time.”
“Our last game before crossovers is against Alberta — who are the defending champs — so it will be really key that we stay focused and play our best and show everyone that even though we are a small province, we are able to compete with the best teams.”
Coach A.J. Campbell said to have success, the rink will need a little more consistency in its shot making and must try to avoid multiple point ends against.
“The biggest thing is to relax on the ice,” the coach added. “We know we can play well against the better teams and I will be reminding them of that. There are lots of distractions and part of my job is to make sure these do not get in the way of the game. The goal is to enjoy the week, but be ready to play at game time.”
Both P.E.I. teams were to play late games Monday night — with the boys playing B.C. and the girls facing off against the Nortwest Territories — before finishing off the preliminary round today.