CALGARY - Forget the pressures of playing for Alberta and the weight of curling in their own backyard.
Nadine Chyz and Colin Hodgson certainly looked right at home on the opening day of the junior nationals.
In a bid to make a clean sweep of junior women's and men's crowns, the Calgary skips and their respective crews doubled up the competition on Day 1 of the Canadian championships at the Glencoe Curling Club.
And they made it look easy.
"We knew we had it in us," said Chyz of the Calgary Curling Club rink. "But it's nice to do that on the opening day. It's reassuring to us."
With a 2-0 start for both Chyz and Hodgson, the Alberta squads share the standings lead heading into the second day of action at the Glencoe and North Hill Community curling clubs.
Chyz, third Rebecca Pattison, second Jessie Scheidegger and lead Kimberly Anderson eased to a 9-3 win over Northern Ontario's Kendra Lilly in the opening draw. The host squad counted two in each of the first and second ends before scoring three in the fourth and two more in the sixth end in what was a dominating performance.
"We felt like we all shot really well," Chyz said. "We felt like we were really into the ice."
It carried over to the evening draw, when Chyz was able to dismantle Manitoba's Breanne Meakin in an 11-2 victory.
The difference came in the third end. Facing a packed house, Meakin tried to remove an Alberta stone on the button with the hammer, but instead she spilled a couple of her own rocks and lost her shooter to leave the hosts to count five.
It made the score 6-0 Alberta and changed the complexion of the contest early. And the hosts kept the game clean from there.
"You have to feel bad for Breanne ó it's just a tough break," Chyz said. "I was in awe when I saw that. We thought that second game was going to be a lot closer because that's a tough team."
Meanwhile, Hodgson, third Michael Ng, second Parker Konschuh and lead Derek Clark of the North Hill and Calgary Curling clubs hammered Northern Ontario's Cody Johnston 11-4 in the opening draw.
After counting two in the second end and stealing one in each of the next two frames, Hodgson then put up a four-spot in the sixth end and three more in the eighth and final frame for a convincing triumph.
In the evening draw, they toughed it out to score a 6-4 extra-end win over Manitoba's Sam Good.
Manitoba stole points in both the eighth and ninth ends to take the lead in what wasn't a well-executed contest. Alberta's Hodgson then came up short on his attempt to draw into the four-foot for the victory in the 10th to set up the extra end. But Good returned the favour in the 11th end by sailing his rock by two home-side rocks to give Alberta the victory.
"It's bittersweet," Hodgson said. "It's always tough to live up to expectations, but we have lots of support out there.
"Definitely, it feels great to be wearing the Alberta colours," Hodgson continued. "You grow up dreaming of wearing them ó and it's surreal.
"But it also means others are gunning for us."