by Al Cameron
February 26, 2014 (ISN) – Alberta’s Kelsey Rocque got off to a strong start at the World Junior Curling Championships today in Flims, Switzerland, winning both her games on the first day of the round robin.
Rocque and her Edmonton team of Keely Brown, Taylor McDonald, Claire Tully, alternate Alison Kotylak and coach Amanda-Dawn Coderre stole four ends, including a single in an extra end, to score a 7-6 victory over Czech Republic in the first session.
Later in the day against Italy’s Veronica Zappone, the Canadians struggled a bit with the swingy ice. They fell behind 5-3 after the Italians stole a point in the seventh, but rallied for three points in the eighth and went on to win 8-6.
“It was rough, I struggled a bit,” said Rocque about the first five ends. “We just weren’t curling like we could.”
But she felt the three points in the seventh gave the Canadians some momentum.
“We started making some shots. You could see a change in our attitudes,” Rocque said. “We started curling a little better and we had some confidence back.”
On the men’s side, the Winnipeg team of Braden Calvert, Kyle Kurz, Lucas Van Den Bosch, Brendan Wilson, alternate Matt Dunstone (2013 WJCC bronze medallist) and coach Tom Clasper lost two close games on the first day of competition.
In their first game of the day, the Canadians lost a close contest to the 2013 WJCC silver medallists from Russia. Team Canada was leading 6-5 after nine ends, but Russia’s Sergey Glukhov was able to score three for the 8-6 victory.
Against Sweden, Calvert stole one in the ninth end to lead 5-4, but Sweden’s Fredrik Nyman took his deuce in 10 for the 6-5 win.
“We were just on the wrong side of the inch all day, and we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be today,” said Calvert after the match. “We’re just going to sharpen up and have a good practice on the sheet we’ll play tomorrow and we’ll be good.”
Apart from Dunstone, both Canadian teams are making their first appearance at the event.
“We don’t know any of the teams, so you’re going into it blind a little bit,” said Rocque. “And the teams are awesome. We have to up our level of competition. It’s great.”
The live coverage schedule is available along with news, live scores and galleries on the event website: http://wjcc2014.curlingevents.com