Giving up a few big ends couldn’t crack Jennifer Curle’s confidence at the Canola Junior Provincial Curling Championships at the Brandon Curling Club on Thursday.
Curle and her Minnedosa-based team of Gillian Lewis, Paxton Johnson, Hayley Surovy and Kaitlyn Payette fell to two of the favourites in their first two games — 7-3 to Winnipeg’s Selena Kaatz and 13-6 to Winnipeg’s Beth Peterson — but Curle feels her team can build off the experience, especially the game against Peterson.
She was down 7-1 after three ends, but battled back with a steal of two and a quiet tap-back for two in the seventh end to cut the lead to 8-6. A missed open takeout by Lewis in the eighth end sealed their fate, but the 17-year-old skip believes that showing they can battle back against the event’s fourth seed is something they can build on.
"I think that made us a little happier," Curle said. "It really sucks when you come off a game and you just got absolutely wiped. If you can come back and get it close and get the other team panicking and freaking out, that’s a good feeling."
While Curle is 0-2 in her pool, things are looking up. She has already faced the two toughest teams in her group and the rest of the matchups should be a little bit easier. Today she faces Winnipeg’s Rachel Burtnyk and Christine MacKay, who she fell to in the Winnipeg Christmas bonspiel final last weekend.
Still, the young skip isn’t feeling a lot of pressure to get into the hunt for a playoff spot.
"I don’t think it’s our year to be in the finals," she said. "We’re the second-youngest team here. We have lots of time to do that. We’re not 20. It’s not our last year. We’re not too concerned about winning, we just want to get a good record at it."
None of the other Westman-based women’s teams were successful in their opening games, either. Brandon’s Janelle Schwindt fell 8-3 to Winnipeg’s Alyssa Vandepoele and Dauphin’s Kylin Alm lost 7-3 to Stonewall’s Rebecca Lamb. Their late draws were still in progress last night.
Things weren’t much better for the Westman teams in the junior men’s provincial championship. Carberry’s Austin Mustard, who skips a team based out of Portage la Prairie, dropped to 0-2 after falling 7-2 to Winnipeg’s Cole Peters and 10-2 to top seed Kyle Doering from Winnipeg.
Mustard said his team didn’t play well enough to win during the event’s opening day and he hopes they can improve today.
"(It was) just some tough teams and we didn’t play the best," he said. "There were some tough breaks here and there. We played a good team though. He played well, we didn’t and he deserved it. … We just need to get our heads in the game and play hard, concentrate and focus and we’ll play well."
In other action, Carberry’s Braden Calvert lost his opener 8-2 to Springfield’s Curtis Kaatz yesterday. Calvert’s late game against Colin Kurz was still in progress at press time.
EXTRA ENDS: Brandon Curling Club president Shawn Taylor put his coaching hat back on for the junior provincials. Raina Syrnyk’s women’s team from Gilbert Plains was without a certified coach and asked around for someone to take them on for the weekend. Taylor stepped up and will guide them for the rest of the event.