Alberta rink jumps to perfect 5-0 at junior nationals

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

They are hosts with the most — and then some.

After two days of the 2011 Canadian Juniors, Alberta’s Nadine Chyz and her Calgary crew are dominating foes in the 13-team pursuit of the national crown.

“I’m not surprised,” said Alberta third Rebecca Pattison of a 5-0 opening that’s put the hosts in a share of the lead after five draws.

“We’ve put a lot of time into this, and we’ve just managed to come out and catch the ice before the other teams.”

However, the way they have destroyed teams has come as somewhat of a shock given the nationals experience of a handful of teams chasing the title at the Glencoe and North Hill Community curling clubs.

Chyz, Pattison, second Jessie Scheidegger and lead Kimberly Anderson have each played in one previous Canadian juniors, which they say is key to their strong start to this year’s under-20 event.

“Last year, we had the technical game,” said Pattison, 20. “Now, we have the mental game, too.

“It’s just more practice and maybe the experience of last year that’s helped us mentally. And (coach) J.D. (Lind) has had a big impact on us.”

Whatever the reason, the host women from the Calgary Curling Club are cruising through what’s already been a heavy schedule.

On Sunday, they beat New Brunswick 10-3 in the morning draw, then dumped Nova Scotia 11-3 in the afternoon and crushed Newfoundland 11-1 in last night’s action.

That followed first-day wins Saturday of 9-3 over Northern Ontario and 11-2 over Manitoba.

“Having a nationals behind all of us really helps,” said Chyz, 20.

“You have better communication, and you don’t let the fans distract you. And we’re all playing really well.”

The trick now is not to get overconfident with nearly half of the 12 roundrobin games behind them.

“No, I don’t think that we were going to get ahead of ourselves,” Chyz said. “We still have a long week ahead of us.”

On the men’s side, a couple of missed shots finally caught up to Alberta’s Colin Hodgson, whose North Hill/Calgary Curling squad fell to 3-2 after Day 2 of the Canadian Juniors.

After defeating New Brunswick’s Jon Rennie 8-4 in the morning, Hodgson, third Michael Ng, second Parker Konschuh and lead Derek Clark stumbled out of the gate in an 6-5 afternoon loss to Nova Scotia’s Kendal Thompson.

“We started off sloppy — I missed a few, and it hurt us,” said skip Hodgson, 20. “And it was a good job by the other teams to make shots.”

Then they ran up against a solid Newfoundland team skipped by Colin Thomas, who shrugged off a few well-executed shots and a comeback by Hodgson & Co. to win an extra-end thriller 7-6.

“It’s pretty much already forgotten, but we did show a lot of character to come back in that (last) one,” said Hodgson, whose rink trailed 4-1 through four ends.

“It’s been really busy, and mentally, we’re feeling good. We just have to refocus.”

Extra ends

Canadian super-curler Glenn Howard is expected to be in the crowd Monday, providing a spark for his son, Scott, and Team Ontario. Scott plays third for Ottawa’s Mat Camm and is making his first — and final — appearance in the Canadian Junior. “My dad’s never been to a junior nationals,” Scott said. “So I can chirp at him.” Later in the week, legendary curler Russ Howard, Scott’s uncle, will make the trip to provide TV colour commentary for the junior finals Saturday and Sunday on TSN … New Brunswick second Eric Pidgeon felt faint late in Sunday afternoon’s 6-5 extra-end loss to B.C. and was taken to Rockyview Hospital. Pidgeon was to have an MRI and was expected to stay overnight in hospital.


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