Spencer, Johnson grab last spots

JIM BENDER, STAFF REPORTER

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

It is, by far, the toughest way to earn a trip to the provincial playdowns.

Still licking wounds from suffering stinging losses in the main events, a team must survive at least two, and in some cases three, sudden-death matches to capture the last available berth into the provincials.

And when the smoke cleared at the Rossmere Curling Club last night, Charleswood's Katie Spencer and Michael Johnson of Deer Lodge emerged victorious.

Spencer cracked a three in the ninth end as she defeated Ste. Anne's Alyssa Vandepoele 7-4 in the junior women's berth playoff final of the Junior Christmas Bonspiel -- her third straight victory of the day.

"I knew it was going to be really tough but I knew we had the team to do it if we played well enough," said Spencer, 15, the daughter of former Brier champion Jim and two-time women's provincial titleist Barb. "It feels really good because it's the first time for all of us."

Supported by her sister, Holly, 14, at third, second Karen Dean, 16, lead Laura Nichol, 16, and fifth Janessa Wirth, 15, Spencer will make the trip to the 2007 Target Junior Women's Championship in Virden, Jan. 4-8.

"That will be a good experience for all of us," said Spencer, who will also be joining her cousin, Lindsey Robertson (Darcy's daughter) in Virden.

Spencer had bounced Assiniboine Memorial's Sheyna Andries 6-3 and Victoria's Shaun Malo 9-7 while Vandepoele beat West St. Paul's Jackelynne Payne 10-5. Payne eliminated Elmwood's Whitney Skorodenski 12-7.

TRIUMPH

Meanwhile, Johnson cracked a three in the eighth end, then held on for a 5-3 triumph over clubmate Corey Chambers in the final of the junior men's berth playoff.

"It feels really good because we had been trying so hard to get there all year," said Johnson, 17. "It is a pretty tough way to do it and it was a lot of work just to get here."

Supported by third Nick Curtis, 17, second Brian Thomson, 17, and Justin Lasker, 16, Johnson will lead the foursome on its first trip to the 2007 Target Junior Men's Provincial Championship in Rivers, Jan. 4-8.

Johnson bounced Glenora's Matthew Kynoch 7-3 while Chambers eliminated West Kildonan's Keith Edie 8-6 in the semifinals. Edie nipped La Salle's Tyler Drews 5-4 while Kynoch purged Springfield's Cory Gibb 7-4 in the first round of the playoff.

In the minor events late Friday, Kynoch beat Assiniboine Memorial's Derek Blanchard 9-2 to capture the inaugural Cec Watt Memorial event while Drews defeated Gibb 9-1 to win the Awards and More event.

On the junior women's side, Payne edged Spencer 7-5 to win the Pace Setter while Springfield's Sherry Just disposed of Assiniboine Memorial's Michelle Montford 7-3 in the Awards and More.

In the Junior Youth division, Pembina's Shannon Birchard, Jesse Claeys of Deer Lodge, St. Vital's Jackie Hebert and Ste. Anne's Austin Ridge won their respective events.


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