December 11, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. -- Matt Dunstone's Manitoba rink won the men's title at the Canadian junior curling championship Saturday night with a 4-3 victory over Alberta's Thomas Scoffin.
Tied in the 10th end, Alberta got a break when a Manitoba peel attempt on Dunstone's first delivery nudged one of Alberta stones in the house to bite the button, corner-frozen to a Manitoba rock.
Scoffin froze to his own frozen rock, and Dunstone played a peel-weight double takeout for the win.
It's Manitoba's first gold medal since 2002, when Winnipeg's David Hamblin claimed the Canadian title at Summerside, P.E.I., and the seventh Canadian junior men's title won by a Manitoba team.
"It's a dream come true," said Dunstone, moments after the victory. "There are still no words to explain it. It's hard to believe."
Dunstone, 17, was backed up by third Colton Lott, second Daniel Grant, lead Brendan MacCuish, while Scoffin teamed with lead Bryce Bucholz, second Landon Bucholz and third Dylan Gousseau.
"They're a good team; you knew they were going to come back on us," said Dunstone, 17.
"We were never comfortable with our two-point lead. We knew we had to play well in all 10 ends, and thankfully his last rock overcurled by just a hair and we had a shot to win."
"We missed a few key shots in that game and that was the difference," said Scoffin, who was skipping in his seventh Canadian juniors but his first for Alberta (the previous six were with the Yukon).
"He made a great shot, he's been making those all week. We had to give him a tough one; my last shot overcurled by a couple inches, and that's the way it is."
Dunstone reached the final after a pair of must-win games Friday -- over Saskatchewan's Brady Scharback in the last game of the round robin and against Ontario's Aaron Squires in a third-place tiebreaker -- before winning 9-4 over Nova Scotia's Stuart Thompson in the semifinal earlier Saturday.
The loss ended a bid for back-to-back gold medals for Alberta at the tournament.
The Manitobans will represent Canada at the world juniors, starting Feb. 28 in Sochi, Russia, which serves as a test event for the 2014 Winter Olympics curling competition.
"Ever since I was three years old, I was on the kitchen floor imitating Jeff Stoughton," said Dunstone, who throws from similar Manitoba tuck position to Stoughton, and even smacks his old-school taped-up corn broom on the ice before throwing a rock, just like Stoughton. "Now, here we are -- we get to go to Sochi, Russia, with a Maple Leaf on our back. It's a great feeling."
The women's Canadian junior curling playoffs are set for today, as Manitoba's Shannon Birchard takes on Ontario's Jamie Sinclair in the semifinal. The winner meets B.C.'s Corryn Brown for the gold medal.
Both games will be televised on TSN and RDS2.
NOTES: Dunstone's grandparents, Jim and Carol, the 1980 Canadian mixed curling champions and recent inductees to the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame, were in attendance.
-- The Canadian Press, with files from the Canadian Curling Association
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 10, 2013 B16