You could say Yukon rinks took a while to trim the fat at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships last week in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.
After tough starts for both rinks, Team Scoffin and Team Koltun finished with wins and the skips are feeling good as they turn their attention to the Arctic Winter Games in March.
“It was a good week and we finished off strong,” said Team Scoffin skip Thomas Scoffin. “We got it going late, but we figured something out.
“Halfway through the week it started turning around and we started to get better.”
“We were finding it hard to just get into our groove,” said Team Koltun skip Sarah Koltun. “By the last game it finally clicked and we were like, ‘Why didn’t this come earlier?’”
Team Scoffin finished in ninth with a 5-7 record in the men’s division, improving from a 3-9 record last year. In the women’s division Team Koltun finished 12th, ahead of NWT with a 3-9 record, down from a 5-7
record at the nationals in 2009.
Scoffin opened with three losses, playing teams Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, all three of which later advanced to the semi finals.
In their fourth game Team Scoffin picked up a 7-6 win over NWT, scoring two in the 10th end to secure the victory. A match later, Team Scoffin downed Team BC 7-4.
In terms of scheduling, it was a tough end to the competition, with Team Scoffin playing five games in two days, but managing to go out with three consecutive wins. To end, Team Scoffin defeated Northern
Ontario 7-4, New Brunswick 9-6, scoring three in the 10th end, and Quebec 6-4.
However, a highlight for the team was a close match against Team Gallant from PEI, the defending champion and silver medalist at the 2009 junior world championships. Team Scoffin took a commanding 8-4 lead
before letting eight points slip to Gallant in the last three ends.
“To take the second best team in the world, the Canadian champs from last year, into an extra end, it was certainly a good accomplishment,” said Team Scoffin coach Wade Scoffin. “A lot of the fans and other
teams were cheering us on and encouraging us, hoping we could pull an upset on that team.”
“It was a tough loss, but it made us stronger in the end,” said Thomas Scoffin. “I’m proud of my team for the way they played this week.”
Also playing on Team Scoffin were third Will Mahoney, second Nick Koltun and lead Mitchell Young.
Similar to the Yukon men, Team Koltun started with three losses, picking up their first win with a 14-2 trouncing of NWT, scoring four points in both of the first two ends to end the third up 9-0. Team Koltun then
defeated Nova Scotia 6-4, coming from behind with three in the 10th end and finished the championships with an 11-3 win over Quebec.
“We were working better as a team and making more shots,” said Koltun of the win over Quebec.
In the gap between the wins over Nova Scotia and Quebec, Team Koltun suffered four straight tight losses, including a 6-5 loss with Newfoundland scoring in the extra end and an 8-6 loss to Northern Ontario,
allowing two points in the 10th end.
“We had a lot of close games, we just couldn’t pull together to get another win,” said Koltun.
Nonetheless, the strong finish against Quebec gives Koltun hope as she turns her sights to the Arctic Winter Games.
“We’re hoping this will give us a good beginning to base how we’re going to play together, taking the momentum from this on through the week of Arctic (Winter Games),” said Koltun.
Playing with Koltun at the nationals, and set to play again at the Arctic Games, are teammates third Chelsea Duncan, second Linea Eby and lead Jenna Duncan.
Thomas Scoffin will be curling with a different rink at the Arctic Games, still with Young, but with Caleb Lane and his brother Andrew Scoffin.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org