Team Young tops pool, Scoffin wins silver for Alberta

Yukon's junior men curlers all had something to be proud of at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Fort McMurray, Alta., last week.

Yukon’s junior men curlers all had something to be proud of at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Fort McMurray, Alta., last week.

Yukon’s Team Young won their final three games to place first in the “seeding pool” out of six teams.

Whitehorse’s Thomas Scoffin, who was skip for Alberta, took his team all the way to the finals and left with silver.

“It was a nice finish for the week,” said Team Young skip Mitch Young. “We pulled it together for the last three games and had a good last half.”

Team Young, which includes third Will Mahoney, second Joe Wallingham and lead Spencer Wallace, finished with a 5-4 record to place ninth in junior men.

After getting pushed beneath the championship pool at the start of last week, Team Young finished with three straight wins. The Whitehorse team beat Newfoundland and Labrador 8-5, Northwest Territories 14-2 and Northern Ontario 7-6 on their last shot.

“It was a good week,” said Young. “We said at the start of the week our second half would be better than the first, and it ended up being so. We accomplished our goal.

“It was a good training week for the other two guys who have two more years of eligibility.”

Last week was Young and Mahoney’s last year of eligibility at the junior nationals. The two veterans have amassed 29 wins in seven trips to the championship.

Their first six trips were as teammates of Scoffin, before he joined the University of Alberta Junior Golden Bears this season. Scoffin and the Golden Bears lost 4-3 to gold-winning Manitoba in the final. Manitoba won it on the final shot.

“Our goal was to make the finals all year. We achieved that goal,” said Scoffin. “But it was also our goal to win that final, so it’s definitely a disappointment.

“It’s hard to take. It was a tough loss yesterday. There are some positives in it that we can pull out.

“This was our one and only year together as a team. They are great teammates; I couldn’t say anything bad about them.”

Alberta finished the round-robin in first with a 9-1 record and received a bye to the final.

Scoffin was not the only Yukoner with a medal at the end of the championship.

Young won the inaugural mixed doubles competition with Nova Scotia’s Sarah Sears. The mini-spiel was a competition for those not in the playoffs of the junior championships.

Mahoney ended his final trip to nationals with the Fair Play Award as selected by officials.

Scoffin was named skip of the First Team All-Star with a 78-per-cent shot rate. The 18-year-old is currently tied for fourth on the all-time win list with 33 career wins at the junior nationals and still has two more years of eligibility.

“I’m grateful for where I came from and the people who helped me get there: past teammates and coaches,” said Scoffin. “It’s pretty cool to be from the Yukon and have some opportunities like that, to have that hometown support even though I’m playing for Alberta.”

Scoffin was the skip on Canada’s bronze-winning team at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, in January of last year. He is joined on the Bears by brothers Landon and Bryce Bucholz, who won the Junior World Curling Championships last March.

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