All in the curling family

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

The Birchards are back and taking aim at junior provincial appearance records.

Pembina's Shannon Birchard beat West St. Paul's Kelsey Boettcher 7-4 in a junior women's city zone B final at the Rossmere Curling Club yesterday to earn her fourth trip to the provincials -- to be held at the Charleswood Curling Club, Dec. 18-22.

Birchard is 15 and could break the appearance record, believed to be seven held jointly by Kaitlyn Lawes and Kelly Scott (nee MacKenzie).

"It feels really good to be going back," said Birchard, who posted a 3-4 record at last year's provincials, her best performance to date.

Shannon's older brother, Daniel Birchard, also earned another trip to the provincials, to be played at the Deer Lodge Curling Club, Dec. 18-22.

His Pembina squad sunk Charleswood's Ian Campbell 8-3 in another B final.

"It feels good," said Daniel, 16. "We were playing a little so-so at the beginning of the season but this definitely brought our spirits up, so hopefully we can do well."

Daniel will also be making his fourth trip to the provincials and he could at least tie the eight appearances posted by Thompson native Kody Janzen.

Shannon was asked if there was a lot of banter about who is better at the dinner table.

"Not really," she responded. "We get along fine."

Daniel did do better at last year's provincials, posting a 6-1 record but lost the Page playoff 3-4 game.

Meanwhile, Joel Hildebrand of Deer Lodge defeated clubmate Daniel Winters 6-1 to earn his first trip to the provincials.

"It feels really good," said Hildebrand, 18. "I finally made it ... It's been five years, so it feels good.

"It's going to be different, that's for sure. But I'm looking forward to it so it's good."

Pembina's Sam Good will return to defend his Manitoba title after downing Wildewood's Andrew McMillan 7-4 in an A-B final.

Assiniboine Memorial's top-seeded Michael Johnson will also be back after getting by Deer Lodge's Alex Hardy 8-1 in another A-B final.

Hardy, McMillan, Winters and Campbell will play off for the final berth in a special playoff to be held at the Granite Curling Club, tomorrow and Wednesday.

In other junior women's city zones, Victoria's top-seeded Kate Cameron overwhelmed Pembina's Abby Ackland 10-3 to earn her third provincial berth.

"It's exciting," said Cameron, 18.

"I'm really hoping that this year, we can go to nationals and take it further."

Cameron lost a tie-breaker at last year's provincials.

Also qualifying for the provincials through the city zones late Saturday were Lindsay Robertson of Fort Rouge and Victoria's Ashley Resler.

BITER: Manitoba's Jackie Komyshyn lost a 5-4 squeaker to Ontario's Kelly Cochrane in the women's final of the inaugural Dominion Curling Championship in Etobicoke, Ont., yesterday. Manitoba's Rod Waterhouse was eliminated in the men's semifinal.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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