Team Manitoba claims top spot

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

First, they clinched a tie-breaker. Then, Manitoba's Alex Forrest secured first place at the Canadian Junior Men's and Women's Curling Championships.

Forrest cracked a four in the 10th end to upend B.C.'s Tyler Klymchuk 8-5 yesterday morning, then beat New Brunswick's Josh Barry 6-5 last night.

Forrest improved to 10-1 with one game left, two wins ahead of both Saskatchewan's Braeden Moskowy and P.E.I.'s defending champion Brett Gallant, who are tied for second at 8-3.

Forrest earns a bye into Sunday's 6:30 p.m. final and will wait to see four teams battle it out for the other two playoff spots.

"We're real happy with the way the week has gone so far," Forrest said from Sorel-Tracy, Que.

Forrest suffered his only loss to Northern Ontario on Wednesday when he shot 66%, his only sub-par performance. But he then rattled off three straight wins.

"We were a little upset coming off the ice but we didn't let it get us down," said Forrest, supported by third Joey Witherspoon, second Connor Njegovan and Mike Neufeld. "I struggled a little bit but we kind of looked at it in the same way we did when we lost to Steen (Sigurdson) at the provincials. It was a wake-up call.

"But none of us have felt nervous all week. We're playing the same kind of game we played at the provincials. We're just trying to finish it off right now."

Actually, Forrest was kicking himself for almost blowing a 4-1 lead to B.C.

"I missed a couple of shots in eight and nine so I had to make up for it in 10," said Forrest, who has kept in touch with his older brother, Tyler, who is playing lead for Manitoba's Jason Gunnlaugson at the Grand Slam's Canadian Open at the MTS Centre this week. "I made sure I let him know that we beat his record of 4-8 when he was here."

Tyler played second for Manitoba's Reid Carruthers at the 2003 nationals.

Forrest finishes the roundrobin against Saskatchewan this morning.

On the junior women's side, Manitoba's Breanne Meakin nipped New Brunswick's Jessica Daigle 6-5 last night to improve to 5-6. Earlier, Meakin had dropped a 7-6 decision to B.C.'s Dailene Siverston.

Meakin also finishes against Saskatchewan this morning.

Ontario's Rachel Homan, who lost last year's final to Manitoba's Kaitlyn Lawes -- with Meakin at lead -- also clinched first with a 10-0 record after defeating Nova Scotia 9-4 last night. Alberta, Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan are tied for second at 8-3, with B.C. at 7-4.

Homan had also been at the Canadian Curling Pre-trials in Prince George, B.C.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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