by Al Cameron
January 24, 2014, LIVERPOOL, N.S. (ISN) – David Aho is in uncharted waters at the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships.
In fact, he was in uncharted waters the moment he stepped onto the ice here; the Team Alberta second set two records, making his eighth appearance at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors, and also becoming the first player to play for three different teams — his first six appearances were on behalf of the Northwest Territories, followed by playing for the Yukon in 2012 at Napanee, Ont., and then Alberta in 2014.
But as of Friday morning at Queens Place Emera Centre, Aho, 19, is in another new place: the playoffs.
Team Alberta — skip Carter Lautner, third Taylor Ardiel, Aho, lead Kyle Morrison and coach Jim Lautner — clinched a berth in Sunday’s 9:30 a.m (all times Atlantic) semifinal with a 7-2 win over Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan (5-5, Sudbury).
“It’s fantastic; it’s great to finally make the playoffs,” said a happy Aho, a student at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary. “We still hold our destiny in our own hands. We just have to come out with two good games and we’ll be right where we want to be. But we’re where we want to be right now.”
Alberta, 7-3, will take on New Brunswick’s Rene Comeau (7-3, Fredericton) in the semifinal, with the winner advancing to meet Manitoba’s Braden Calvert (9-1) in the gold-medal game Sunday at 4 p.m. The winner there will wear Canadian colours at the World Junior Championships, beginning Feb. 26 in Flims, Switzerland.
New Brunswick finished off its round-robin schedule with a 4-3 loss to Ontario’s Ryan McCrady (6-4, Ottawa).
Aho, who has another year of junior eligibility, won his first Alberta jacket by beating his former Yukon skip Thomas Scoffin in the Alberta junior men’s final.
“I really like the Alberta colours. And I like playing in Alberta because there are a lot more bonspiels nearby. It was a whole new experience coming out of Alberta,” he said. “Our team has a lot of experience at the provincial level, so this is similar — just on a bigger scale. Everybody kind of knows what to expect, so hopefully we’ll come out ready to go and play two good games.”
In the other men’s game, Nova Scotia’s Robert Mayhew (6-4, Windsor) beat Saskatchewan’s Tyler Hartung (6-4, Kronau) 6-3.
In women’s play, home-province hopeful Mary Fay nailed down her berth in the semifinal (Saturday, 9:30 a.m.) with a 9-5 triumph over Quebec’s Camille Boisvert (3-7, St-Romuald). Nova Scotia, from nearby Chester, finished with an 8-2 round-robin record, and will play B.C.’s Kalia Van Osch (8-2, Nanaimo/Delta) in the semifinal. The winner will move on to Saturday’s 4 p.m. gold-medal game against Alberta’s Kelsey Rocque (9-1, Edmonton). The women’s and men’s finals will be broadcast live by TSN/RDS2.
Nova Scotia was down 5-3 after giving up a steal of three in the sixth end, but rallied with one in the seventh, a steal of two in the eighth and three more in the ninth for the win.
In the other women’s game, Ontario’s Molly Greenwood (7-3, Kitchener-Waterloo) doubled Saskatchewan’s Kristen Streifel (4-6, Saskatchewan) 10-5.
Action at the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors continues Friday with a draw at 12:30 p.m.
Round-robin games took place at both Queens Place Emera Centre and the Liverpool Curling Club in the beautiful South Shore region of Nova Scotia.
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).
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2014juniors-fr/