Lower Mainland junior curlers will be vying for gold

Team B.C., led by skip Tyler Tardi, secured a birth in the finals Sunday at the junior nationals.

Team BC is in once again going for the gold.

With a 7-3 win over Nova Scotia this morning – in the final game of the championship round at the New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Prince Albert, Sask. – B.C.’s Tyler Tardi moved directly to the gold-medal game and has a chance to earn an historic third straight national junior title.

“We were happy to win the game this afternoon because we have now secured a spot in the playoffs,” Tardi said, after Thursday mornings loss against Manitoba in the morning, and then the afternoon 6-4 victory over Quebec in the afternoon.

Then, following Friday morning’s win over Graem Weagle’s Nova Scotia team, he and the Langley-based team are not playing again until Sunday.

Heading into that final game, this two-time national winning team has won eight of its nine games at this year’s championships.

All their experience is going to come in handy, said Tardi, as the pressure and media coverage ramps up during the playoffs.

“I think (our experience) is pretty big,” said the B.C. skip, who still has one more year of junior eligibility after this season.

“Playing on TV for most juniors, it’s the first time, and we have a few games under our belt, so I think the nerves are a little more settled down for us, fortunately, and we are going to be prepping tomorrow as much as we can to be sure we can perform in the final,” he said.

The British Columbia team is made up of Tardi (a Cloverdale skip who plays out of the Langley Curling Centre), Sterling Middleton (the third who hails from Fort. St. John, and curls out of New Westminster), Matthew Hall (second, who lives in Cloverdale but also plays out of the Langley rink), and Alex Horvath (the lead who plays out of Victoria). The coach is Tyler’s father, Paul.

Tardi said the addition of Hall has be a huge positive in the team’s success this season, so far.

“He’s got a lot of experience, learning from Richard Hart (former Glenn Howard third) and playing with Hart’s kids,” said Tardi. “He’s made a ton of shots and has been a big asset this week.”

As for prepping for the final, Tardi said the team won’t be sitting around relaxing.

“We’re definitely going to get the most out of our pre-final practice that they give us. We want to stay active and make sure we’re fit for the final.”

The men’s semifinal match-up is also clear after Manitoba’s J.T. Ryan battled to a 9-4 win over Saskatchewan’s Ryan Kleiter in a game that was much closer than the scoreboard shows.

The first four ends were all Saskatchewan, but Manitoba turned it around with a deuce in the fifth and a couple of steals to take a 5-4 lead after seven. In the ninth, Kleiter attempted a tricky cross-the-rings double and just missed, giving up a single and trailing by two with hammer in the final end.

Facing an almost-impossible angle-raise takeout with his final shot, Kleiter flashed, giving Manitoba the 9-4 win.

Kleiter will have a chance for revenge, however, when the teams meet again in Saturday’s semifinal at 7 p.m. (all times Central).

The semifinals are set for Saturday and the finals are on Sunday. The same games also will be streamed live in the U.S.onESPN3. CLICK HERE for streaming and broadcast information.

The winning teams will represent Canada at the 2019World Junior Championships, running Feb. 16 to 23 , in Liverpool, N.S.

People can find all the scores and standings by linking to the scoreboard on the eventwebsite,at:www.curling.ca/2019juniors.

RECENT COVERAGE:

SATURDAY COVERAGE: Tardi earns first victory in quest for third national title

SUNDAY COVERAGE: Team BC defeats its hosts at junior curling nationals Sunday

MONDAY COVERAGE: Day 3 brings fourth win for the Langley-based Team BC

TUESDAY COVERAGE: Team BC advancing undefeated in junior nationals

WEDNESDAY COVERAGE: Team BC’s having fun, ‘feeling good’ about back-to-back victories

THURSDAY COVERAGE: Tardi team suffers first loss at junior nationals

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