Nova Scotia skip Kaitlyn Jones may have her eyes a second straight national Junior title but she had her hands full with a feisty Saskatchewan Host team in Draw 3 of the 2019 New Holland Junior Curling Championships in Prince Albert, Sask., on Saturday night.
Jones and her team of Lauren Lenentine, Karlee Burgess, Lindsey Burgess and coach Andrew Atherton stole a couple of points to lead 3-1 at the break over Skylar Ackerman of Moose Jaw. (Ackerman is the skip of a second Saskatchewan team added to the women’s draw to keep numbers even after Yukon did not send a women’s team to the championship.)
With the score 3-2 after eight, the defending champions stole three in the ninth to take a 6-2 win in their first game of the round robin.
In other Draw 3 women’s action, British Columbia’s Sarah Daniels notched her second win of the day, cruising to a 12-3 win over Ontario’s Thea Coburn.
B.C. third Kayla MacMillan is at her first national junior championship and she says the experience has been positive so far.
“This is my first Junior, and (lead) Sarah Loken’s as well,” MacMillan said after Saturday night’s game. “And it’s just been exactly what we hoped it would be. Our families are all here. It’s great playing in front of an actual crowd and the ice is great.”
MacMillan moved to B.C. from Ontario, so playing against her “home” team was fun.
“Calissa (Day) on the team – I actually won the Little Rocks championship with her, and Kaitlyn Jones from Nova Scotia, so there’s three of us now playing for different provinces,” she said.
The 2018 silver medallist, Laurie St-Georges, of Laval, Que., stole the first three ends on the way to a 7-1 win over Tyanna Bain of Inuvik, N.T.
In a tight battle, Manitoba’s Mackenzie Zacharias handed Saskatchewan’s Sara England her first loss. Leading 4-3 after seven, the skip from Winnipeg’s Elmwood Curling Club stole a deuce in the eighth and another in the ninth for an 8-3 win.
Steals also factored heavily in a 9-4 win for Newfoundland and Labrador’s Mackenzie Glynn over P.E.I.’s Lauren Ferguson.
In men’s action, 2018 champion Tyler Tardi and his B.C. foursome took complete control in a 14-1 win over Nunavut’s Javen Komaksiutiksak, while Manitoba’s JT Ryan won his second game of the day with a 9-2 score over Northwest Territories’ Sawer Kaeser.
A high-scoring ten-end battle between P.E.I. and Quebec ended with a 9-7 win for Tyler Smith of the Charlottetown Curling Club over Vincent Roberge of the Etchemin Curling Club
Rylan Kleiter and his team from the Sutherland Curling Club in Saskatoon kept the home-province fans happy with a solid 8-2 win over Ontario’s Samuel Steep of the Galt Country Club.
“Our team played solid and we were fortunate to get some misses (from Ontario), but I think we were expecting it to be a little closer, for sure,” said Kleiter after the team’s second win of the day. “Ontario always sends a strong contending team, and we were expecting them to play well so our mindset going in was just to stay with the process and take it shot by shot and try to grind out another win.”
“I thought our energy early on was up,” he said about the possible difference in the two teams’ approach tonight. “I thought we had a little bit more intensity, so yeah, our front end played well and we just tried to put the pressure on.”
The Saskatchewan foursome are earning some style points as well with their colourful curling pants.
“Five years ago when we brought Trevor (Johnson) on the team, he had the idea and showed us the website. We thought it was pretty cool. And back then it was a junior league kind of thing and we’ve stuck with them ever since,” said Kleiter. “And they do bring a little good luck. We found that they’d help keep the game a little loose. Just adds a little fun, for sure.”