Not only did the boys and girls Yukon rinks exceed expectations with each picking up a handful of wins at the Canadian Junior Curling Championship in Salmon Arm, BC, each rink returned with an award winner.
After coming home winless last year, the girls’ rink, Team Koltrun, won five of their matches, one short of a .500 record.
“I’m speechless — I’m just really proud of them,” said Team Koltrun coach Lindsey Moldowan. “I couldn’t really ask for much more.
“The goal going into the week was to win three games. All the games were close in score, so we were really happy with the week.”
The highlight for Team Koltrun was an 8-6 win over Manitoba, which was not only the defending champion but the eventual winner as well.
After dropping four points in the fourth end, Koltrun evened the score 5-5 with four of their own in the fifth.
“They just didn’t give up after that — they were relentless,” said Moldowan. “I think the Manitoba girls weren’t expecting that.”
Team Koltrun, after going down one in the seventh, scored individual points in each of the three ends, including a steal to win.
In fact, Koltrun swept the Prairies and also downed NWT and Quebec. However, their 7-6 win over Saskatchewan stands out for Moldowan.
“What really got us going was the game against Saskatchewan,” said Moldowan. “We don’t have as much experience as teams like that. So when we geared up to play
Saskatchewan, we set the goal of having a close game — make all our shots and that sort of thing.
“When we won that game, it set the tone for the way our team played for the rest of the week. It opened our eyes that we could do this.”
Joining skip Sarah Koltrun on the team was Linea Eby, Chelsea Duncan and lead Jenna Duncan, who was awarded the Fair Play Award by the tournament’s officials.
“That’s in regards to her on-ice conduct and how she presents herself,” said Moldowan. “It was her first time there, and she’s just 13 years old. And for her to come out with an award, it was pretty good.”
The boys’ squad, Team Scoffin, returned with a 3-9 record, racking up wins against NWT, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
“We didn’t win as many games as we wanted to,” said coach Wade Scoffin. “But now that the dust has settled, I’m really pleased about how things worked out.
“We won three games, but we also had three or four close games that came down to one shot.”
On the boys side as well, the win over Saskatchewan — a powerhouse in curling — stands out.
“When you play well against any of the Prairie provinces, that’s always a bit of a feather in your cap,” said Scoffin. “Saskatchewan traditionally has very strong teams…
“The Saskatchewan team we played against are all 20 years old and in their final year of juniors. And our guys are all Grade 9 and 11s.”
In addition to the boys’ success on the sheets, coach Scoffin was National Coaching Award from the Canadian Curling Association. Scoffin won the prestigious award by being selected by other national coaches at the championships.
“It’s only awarded to two coaches in Canada a year, so it’s quite an honour,” said Scoffin.
Out of the 13 team’s leads curling at the championships, using the statistical information from each match, Yukon’s Mitchell Young was ranked third overall with an 81 shooting percentage.
“He missed making the All-Star team by a fraction of a percentage point,” said Scoffin.
“He’s the individual on the team that probably started off with the least amount of experience in the sport of curling. Over the last four years he’s really grasped on to the sport — been a terrific learner all the way through.”
Prince Edward Island’s Brett Gallant finished first in the boys’ draw.
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