by Al Cameron
January 24, 2014, LIVERPOOL, N.S. (ISN) – One Canadian championship is all but over; now Sarah Koltun can turn her focus to another one, beginning next week in Montreal.
Koltun’s team from the Yukon (third Patty Wallingham, second Jenna Duncan, lead Andrea Sinclair, coach Lindsay Moldowan) completed its 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships round-robin schedule on Friday at Queens Place with a 10-5 win over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Sarah Hill (2-7, St. John’s).
The Yukon’s 5-4 record wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs, and Koltun and Co. will spend this weekend playing in a mixed doubles tournament with fellow non-playoff teams.
But Monday, another journey begins as Koltun’s team travels to Montreal to begin preparations for its first Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
“I kept having to remind myself that we’re actually going there afterwards,” said a smiling Koltun on Friday. “Now that this is kind of done, I’m realizing that we’re actually going there right away, and we’re just so excited.”
It won’t be the identical team that opens play at Maurice Richard Arena on Feb. 1 against Alberta’s Val Sweeting. Chelsea Duncan (Jenna’s sister), who played at the juniors last year but aged out, will step in at third; Wallingham moves to second, and Moldowan will be the team alternate.
The team arrived in Liverpool with high hopes, but stumbled out of the gate to open the event.
“But we played pretty well toward the end; we just had a bit of a slow start and we weren’t able to overcome that,” said Koltun, 20. “We just did the best we could and tried to learn as much as we could, and we’ll try to use that going forward into the Scotties next week.
“The break will be nice, but we’re definitely excited and we’ll be ready to be back on the ice in Montreal. We’re so excited; I can’t even describe it how exciting it is.”
In other women’s games on Friday afternoon — all in the seeding pool to determine the final rankings and set the seedings for the 2015 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Corner Brook, N.L. — Northern Ontario’s Krysta Burns (4-5, Sudbury) beat Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen (0-9, Iqaluit), and P.E.I.’s Veronica Smith (5-4, Cornwall) knocked off the Northwest Territories’ Carina McKay-Saturnino (2-7, Inuvik).
In men’s seeding play, the Yukon’s Joe Wallingham (5-4, Whitehorse) toppled Nunavut’s Jamie Airut (0-9, Rankin Inlet), and P.E.I.’s Kyle Holland (3-6, Charlottetown) stole points in the final four ends for a 9-8 win over Quebec’s Adam Freilich (3-6, Montreal/Boucherville).
The playoffs get underway on Saturday at Queens Place Emera Centre. In the women’s semifinal at 9:30 a.m. (all times Atlantic), Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay (8-2, Chester) takes on B.C.’s Kalia Van Osch (8-2, Nanaimo/Delta). The winner advances to the gold-medal game at 4 p.m. against Alberta’s Kelsey Rocque (9-1, Edmonton).
On Sunday, the men’s 9:30 a.m. semifinal features Alberta’s Carter Lautner (7-3, Calgary) and New Brunswick’s Rene Comeau (7-3, Fredericton), with the winner taking on Manitoba’s Braden Calvert (9-1, Winnipeg) at 4 p.m. for the gold medal.
Both gold-medal games will be televised by TSN/RDS2.
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/