TALLINN, ESTONIA – Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque and Winnipeg’s Braden Calvert have secured playoff positions after Wednesday’s round robin games at the 2015 World Junior Curling Championships.
Rocque, along with teammates Danielle Schmiemann, Holly Jamieson, Jessica Iles, alternate Kristen Streifel and coach Amanda-Dawn Coderre became the first women’s team to qualify after posting two wins against Scotland and Estonia on Wednesday to bring their record to 7-0.
Canada faced off against the second-ranked Scottish team to open the day. After a blank in the first end, the Canadians picked up a deuce in the second. Scotland battled back with a single in the third end follow by a stolen point in the fourth end to tie the game up when a raise attempt by Rocque came up an inch too short.
Kelsey Rocque (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)
Canada broke the game wide open in the fifth with a three-ender to take a 5-2 lead. The Canadians took that momentum into the sixth end, forcing Scotland to make a draw to the four-foot. The Scottish skip’s last stone came up light, giving Canada a single point.
Canada continued to apply pressure to Scotland in the seventh end, forcing Scotland to outdraw three rocks in the four-foot. Scotland came up light for the second time and ended the game at 9-2.
“It looks like we’re on autopilot, but we just played really strong as a team,” said Rocque. “That game was a little sketchy at times, but we’re just getting the breaks when we need them.”
Against host country Estonia, Canada jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after three ends. In the fourth end, Canada forced Estonia to a single point with a draw to the four-foot.
The Canadians generated a deuce in the fifth end to take a 6-1 lead. The Estonians answered back with another single in the sixth.
Canada stretched its margin to 8-2 after taking two more points in the seventh end. A clean eighth end saw Estonia roll out on its last rock to blank and the Estonians opted to shake.
With two more round robin games still to play, the Canadians have guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs. But first, they have to go through Switzerland, currently ranked second in the standings, and South Korea, the fourth ranked team, which will determine their final playoff positioning.
Rocque and teammates are elated to have accomplished the first stage of their goal.
“You come in as Canada and you already have a target on your back. Defending champions, that’s another target. Not to say we were nervous, but it’s a relief [to have qualified]!”
On the men’s side, Calvert with teammates Kyle Kurz, Lucas Van Den Bosch, Brendan Wilson, alternate Colton Lott and coach Tom Clasper extended their wining streak to five in a row with a 10-4 win over Scotland and became the second team to qualify in the men’s field.
The first end saw Scotland attempt to grab a piece of the button to score, but came up light and gave Canada the steal. The Scottish men found themselves in the same position in the second end, but this time made the draw against two Canadian counters
With his first rock, Calvert executed a perfect soft-weight double followed by a draw to full 12 to pick up three points in the third end.
Scotland answered back with a deuce in the fourth end when the Scottish skip nailed a tough double to bring the score to 4-3.
Facing four Scottish stones on his last shot in the fifth, Calvert calmly drew to the four-foot to pick up a single. The tables turned in the sixth end when Scotland faced three Canadian counters. The Scottish skip was only able to outdraw one, giving Canada a steal of two and a 7-3 lead.
On Calvert’s final rock of the seventh end, he made a run double to sit three in the house. Scotland answered right back with a triple to score one.
Canada didn’t let off the gas in the eighth and piled the rocks into the house. Again, Calvert pulled out the big weight to make two runbacks to end the game with a final score of 10-4.
“We’re starting to play a bit better now, so we’re in a good spot,” said Calvert. “We’re still trying to master the ice. It’s just a little straighter than we’re used to. We’re trying to throw the rock a little bit better each day.”
The Canadian women will take on Switzerland Thursday at 2 p.m. local (7 a.m. ET). The men also face off against Switzerland on Wednesday at 9 a.m. local (2 a.m. ET) and South Korea at 7 p.m. local (noon ET).
The World Junior Curling Championships will be broadcast on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV
The Canadian women will be the featured game at 2 p.m. local (7 a.m. ET) against Switzerland.
For the full game and broadcast schedule information, go to: http://wjcc2015.curlingevents.com/schedule
For even more of an insider look, Streifel, women’s team alternate, will be keeping a blog of the team’s adventures in Tallinn. Read all about it here: http://k-streif.blogspot.ca
This story will be posted as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/?lang=fr