Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

B.C. women, Alberta men earn byes to junior finals

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FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. -- Alberta's men will be gunning for back-to-back junior curling gold medals, while B.C.'s women will be looking for the province's first championship since 1987.

Edmonton's Thomas Scoffin and Corryn Brown of Kamloops, B.C., each clinched byes to the gold-medal games with wins on Thursday night at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre, locking up first place in their respective championship round-robin pools.

Scoffin and Brown were teammates in 2012 on the Canadian mixed team that won a bronze medal at the inaugural Youth Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

The men's final is Saturday, while the women's final is Sunday.

Also, Nova Scotia's Stuart Thompson wrapped up a berth in Saturday's men's semifinal with a victory on Thursday night.

Scoffin's team features two members -- lead Bryce Bucholz and his twin brother Landon, who plays second -- of last year's Canadian and world junior championship team, so they have experience with what they'll face here on Saturday.

"Saturday night, it's really just about controlling your nerves," Landon Bucholz said after Alberta improved to 9-1 with a 8-3 win over Manitoba's Matt Dunstone.

The Nova Scotians, meanwhile, locked up their playoff berth with a 7-5 win over Ontario's Aaron Squires. Nova Scotia improved to 8-2 with the victory, while Ontario dropped to 7-3.

Ontario will play a tiebreaker for the third and final playoff spot on Friday against either Manitoba or Saskatchewan's Brady Scharback.

Saskatchewan improved to 6-3 with a 7-4 win over Quebec on Thursday night, and will play Manitoba to close out the championship round-robin draw on Friday morning, with the tiebreaker berth on the line.

On the women's side, B.C. clinched its bye to the final in dramatic fashion when Brown made a double takeout to score three in the 10th end for a wild 11-10 win over Ontario's Jamie Sinclair (7-2).

"I'm so proud of those girls," said Brown, who finished with a 9-1 record. "We had a couple of unfortunate ends and misses, but we made it through and got the three in the last end."

Manitoba's Shannon Birchard saw her hopes of a bye to the final vanish with the stunning B.C. win, but the 2012 silver-medallist will play in the women's semifinal Sunday thanks to her 9-4 win over Saskatchewan. Manitoba finished with the same record as B.C. (9-1), but lost out in the head-to-head tiebreaker. The third and final playoff berth will be decided on Friday morning as Ontario plays Yukon.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2013 C4

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