North Delta’s Team Daniels are headed to the finals after a big win over the defending Canadian and world champs at the 2019 New Holland Canadian Juniors Curling Championships.
Skip Sarah Daniels scored four in the third end to help propel her team from the Delta Thistle Curling Club to victory on Saturday morning (Jan. 26). B.C. defeated defending national and world champion Kaitlyn Jones from Nova Scotia’s Halifax Curling Club 9-7 at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert, Sask.
After exchanging single points in the first two ends, British Columbia opened the game up in the third with a four-ender. Daniels punched a B.C. rock into the pile of granite in the four-foot, resulting in a successful runback double to lay five counters. Nova Scotia responded with a double, but it left Daniels, vice-skip Kayla MacMillan, second Jessica Humphries, lead Sarah Loken and coach Katie Witt with a draw to the button for four and 5-1 lead.
“Getting that four was huge for us, settle our nerves and all that, it’s good,” said Daniels, a 19-year-old health sciences student at Simon Fraser University.
Down but not out, Nova Scotia cut into the lead in the fourth end. After missing her first draw to sit three, Jones had an opportunity to hit for two and capitalized, cutting into B.C.’s lead at 5-3. In the fifth, Daniels was left with a freeze for one, elevating her team to a 6-3 lead at the fifth-end break.
Nova Scotia continued to press and fought back into the game. After taking one in the sixth end with hammer, Nova Scotia produced a steal in the seventh. Jones made a highlight-reel triple on all three of B.C.’s shot stones. Daniels had a hit for one, but after the rock settled Nova Scotia was closest to the button and scored one to trail 6-5.
Nova Scotia jammed a hit on its last throw of the eighth end, which left Daniels with second and third shot in the back-12. Nova Scotia was shot stone and slightly behind cover, but B.C. picked it out to score and take the 8-5 lead.
Jones needed to produce at least a score of two in the ninth end and took advantage of a key miss to do so. B.C. flashed its final hit attempt, leaving Nova Scotia with a draw for two to trail 8-7 heading into the final end.
But the comeback wasn’t in the cards for Jones, vice-skip Lauren Lenentine, second Karlee Burgess, lead Lindsey Burgess and coach Andrew Atherton. In the tenth, Jones nearly made a difficult double tap, but her counting stone rolled too far to the open side, leaving Daniels with a hit for one and 9-7 win.
“I’m really proud of (my teammates),” Jones said after the game. “We battled right till the end. If I’d made my last shot I think it would have been tough for her to make her draw because she hadn’t played a draw in a long time.”
Team B.C. will go on to play Alberta’s undefeated Selena Sturmay in the gold-medal game on Sunday at 8 a.m. PST. Daniels has played in two national junior finals before, winning silver as skip in Stratford, Ont. in 2016 and as second for Kalia Van Osch in 2014 in Liverpool, N.S. She’s seeking B.C.’s first junior women’s title since Corryn Brown won in 2013.
“I think we feel pretty good, no different than we have all season. We’ve worked really hard to get here so we’ll just let our preparation carry us forward,” Daniels said.
The men’s semifinal is tonight (Jan. 26) at 5 p.m. PST. Second-ranked Rylan Kleiter of Saskatchewan (Sutherland Curling Club, Saskatoon) takes on third-seed JT Ryan of Manitoba (representing Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club). The winner gets the chance to challenge for the gold against B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (Langley and Victoria Curling Clubs), who is seeking his third-straight Canadian junior title.
The winning teams on Sunday will represent Canada at the 2019 World Junior Championships, to be held Feb. 16 to 23 in Liverpool, N.S.
All semifinal and finals games will be televised live on TSN and streamed in the U.S. on ESPN3.
The full scoreboard can be viewed at curling.ca/scoreboard.