If you were to play Team Scoffin in a bonspiel, it seems you would be better off playing them early on.
Just as they did at the junior nationals last year, Team Scoffin won three straight games to end the Michael Izsak Memorial Junior Bonspiel in Lethbridge, Alberta, over the weekend, winning the consolation round and taking home a winning, 4-2 record.
“I think we did really well,” said skip Thomas Scoffin. “It was our first competition as a team with our new guy (Josh Burns), so in the first couple games it took us a while to get working as a team again. It didn’t take long and on Sunday we played really, really well. So it’s looking good this year.”
In the final of the consolation round Team Scoffin defeated the rink of Kyler Kleibrink, who was the gold medalists at the 2007 Canada Winter Games. Kleibrink, who defeated Team Scoffin 8-3 in the bonspiel’s opening game, is also the son of 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink.
The Yukon rink took the game 10-4 with Team Scoffin scoring four points in the ninth end.
“It came down to one shot in the ninth end, (Kleibrink) was drawing and came up a little bit light on a difficult shot and we ended up taking four points,” said Team Scoffin coach Wade Scoffin. “It was an all or nothing sort of thing.”
Thomas Scoffin was at the bonspiel with his older rink that he will take to nationals next year, not the younger team he hopes to bring to the Canada Winter Games this February in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Joining Scoffin on the older team is second Mitchell Young, lead Will Mahoney and third Josh Burns, who recently replaced long-time Scoffin team member Nick Koltun.
“It’s our first competition of the year – we’ve been playing in some leagues, but this was our first opportunity to have a weekend blitz,” said Wade Scoffin. “To have six games over a two-and-a-half day time period is an important opportunity to see how the off-season practice, conditioning and preparation have been paying off.
“We’re on track, but we certainly have more work to do during the season to try and peak at junior nationals.”
Thomas Scoffin’s participation at the bonspiel comes a little over a week after being recognized by the Canadian Curling Association. Thanks to consistent appearances at national level events and a strong season last winter, Scoffin was named the association’s Junior Curler of the Week.
Further putting the recognition into perspective, the Junior Curler of the Week program was only started a few weeks ago, making Scoffin one of the first to be honoured.
“It kind of caught me off guard a little bit, but I was excited to hear it,” said Scoffin. “I think over the years – hopefully – I’ve been building up a reputation for myself. I like to think that at least.”
The Porter Creek Secondary student has competed at every Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships since 2007, coming back with a 5-7 record – his rink’s best record at the nationals – in January.
“I don’t have any long-term goals other than this season; we just really take it one season at a time,” said Scoffin. “Nationals is obviously our main focus this year. We’ve put together a really strong team this year, maybe our strongest team yet with the addition of a new player. So we’re hoping we do really well this year.”
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