by Al Cameron
January 23, 2014, LIVERPOOL, N.S. (ISN) – Mary Fay hasn’t been the least bit intimidated by being one of the youngest skips competing at the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships.
So there’s no way the 15-year-old skip and her equally young Nova Scotia team from nearby Chester would be concerned with falling behind 3-0 to Saskatchewan’s Kristen Streifel in a crucial round-robin game on Thursday night before a partisan crowd at Queens Place Emera Place.
Like they’ve done all week here, Fay, third Jenn Smith, second Karlee Burgess, lead Janique LeBlanc (the veteran of the team at 16) and coach Andrew Atherton, rose to the occasion, shaking off the slow start to rally for a 7-6 win to clinch a tiebreaker berth, and close to within one victory of a berth in Saturday’s 9:30 a.m. (all times Atlantic) semifinal.
“Being the first time for us to come to nationals, and doing so well, it’s definitely a really good feeling,” said Fay afterward. “But we knew we could compete with these teams. I just know I have the best teammates, and we work so hard. I know that every time we go onto the ice, we can make the shots to compete with these teams.
“I don’t know how much I expected, but I expected to do well and we’re really pleased with how its going so far.”
They should be. With the win, Nova Scotia improved to 7-2 (Saskatchewan dropped to 4-5) and will close out round-robin play Friday at 8 a.m. against Quebec’s Camille Boisvert (3-6, St-Romuald).
“We’re not satisfied,” said Fay. “We’re going to keep fighting, for sure, because we want to do the best we possibly can. And we know we can be right there.”
Alberta’s Kelsey Rocque (9-1, Edmonton) clinched a bye to Saturday’s 4 p.m. final by beating Manitoba’s Meaghan Brezden (5-5, Winnipeg) 6-4, while B.C.’s Kalia Van Osch (8-2, Nanaimo/Delta) will play either Nova Scotia or Ontario’s Molly Greenwood (6-3, Kitchener-Waterloo) in the semifinal.
In women’s seeding-round play (teams that didn’t make the championship round play the seeding round to determine the final rankings and set the pools for the 2015 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Corner Brook, N.L.), the Yukon’s Sarah Koltun (4-4, Whitehorse) stole one in the 11th end for a 9-8 win over Northern Ontario’s Krysta Burns (3-5, Sudbury).
In men’s seeding-round games, the Yukon’s Joe Wallingham (4-4, Whitehorse) was a 6-5 winner over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Stephen Trickett (3-6), while Quebec’s Adam Freilich (3-5, Montreal/Boucherville) turned back the Northwest Territories’ Matthew Miller (2-7, Inuvik) 10-3.
Action at the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors continues Friday with draws at 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with potential tiebreakers to follow.
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.
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 while the men’s final is Sunday. 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).
This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2014juniors-fr/