Grande Prairie, Alberta
The two curling rinks representing the Yukon at last week’s Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta, took very different routes to end up in the same place: playing in the gold medal match.
However, the junior female rink, Team Koltun, ended at the top of the podium with gold while the junior male rink, Team Scoffin, came up short in the finals, but still took home silver.
“There was one less team (than in the junior male division) so we had time to go out and see some of the other sports,” said Team Koltun skip Sarah Koltun. “But it also helped us a little because we’re used to playing two games a day, which is a little more stressful.”
Team Koltun, which includes Chelsea Duncan, Linea Lynne Eby and Jenna Duncan, went undefeated at the Games, won gold with a 7-2 win over Team NWT and reached the finals with a 13-5 win over Team Alberta North.
As lopsided as those final scores are, Team Koltun started the week with some close matches, only beating the competition by larger margins as the week went on.
In their opening match against Alberta North, Koltun went down 2-0 by the end of the second end, but managed to come back for a 7-6 win.
In their second game, playing NWT, Team Koltun was again down by two, this time after five ends, but came back for the 10-7 win.
“It was kind of difficult because that ice would die down a lot faster than ours would at home (at the Whitehorse Curling Club),” said Koltun.
Team Scoffin had a larger hill to climb to reach the finals, losing its first semifinal match, but getting a second shot at the finals through the Games’ page playoff system, which pitted the losing team of the first semifinal against the third ranked team.
After losing to Alberta North 8-6 in the semifinal, Scoffin, which includes Mitchell Young, Caleb Steele-Lane and Andrew Scoffin, defeated NWT 8-4 to reach the final where they lost again to Alberta North 8-0 – the only team to defeat Scoffin at the Games.
“The scoreboard (in the finals) didn’t indicate how the team played in the game,” said Scoffin coach Wade Scoffin. “It’s just one of those games when we were on the wrong side of the inch on about four different shots.”
Skip Thomas Scoffin was using a different team than he has going to the junior nationals over the last couple years, welcoming Steele-Lane and his brother Andrew onto the team for the Games.
“I think we did pretty well considering we didn’t have as much experience,” said Thomas. “We had to fight through that, but the challenge was fun.
“This was like our first tournament playing together.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org