CALGARY - Kimberly Anderson has a sure-fire way to avoid tossing and turning due to excitement leading up to the championship final at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors curling championships.
“I have sleeping pills,” the Alberta team’s lead said with a big laugh.
“Cheryl Bernard gave me her secret to Olympics when I played with her in a bonspiel.”
Anderson’s Calgary-based team — skip Nadine Chyz, third Rebecca Pattison and second Jessie Scheidegger — failed to go through the round-robin with a perfect record due to a loss to British Columbia in Thursday’s afternoon draw, but came through when it counted with a decisive 9-3 victory over Saskatchewan in the evening at the North Hill Curling Club and clinched top spot.
“We never thought we would go unbeaten,” said Chyz, who plays out of the Calgary Curling Club.
“Our goal was just to make the playoffs. Yeah, we lost our game against B.C., but to be 11-1, we’re happy with that and a bye to the final.”
Saskatchewan (9-3) would have clinched top spot with a win, but Chyz roared to the victory despite trailing 3-2 after five ends.
The Albertans scored two in the sixth then stole five over the next three ends to seal the victory.
“We came out fighting really strong. Honestly, this is probably one of our best games we’ve played this week,” Chyz said.
Saskatchewan will face Manitoba (8-4) in the semi-final Saturday morning. Alberta will face the winner that night.
Considering how strong they played, it’s understandable the Albertans wanting to hit the ice Friday, but the breather is well-earned.
“It’s lots of time, so I’ll try not to think about it too much,” Chyz said. “I definitely can’t be thinking about the pressure of being the final, so we’ve got to go out there with the same mentality we had today.”
Alberta’s men’s entry, Colin Hodgson, had a chance to make a tiebreaker for third place, but lost his final two games of the roundrobin, falling to B.C. 6-5 in an extra end in the afternoon draw, and then 6-2 to Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy in the evening.
The Calgary-based rink finished 6-6.
Hodgson made a run after losing four straight and falling to a 3-4 record, but the team of third Michael Ng, second Parker Konschuh and lead Derek Clark couldn’t complete the miracle run.
“It’s definitely a different event in your hometown. It was great. I’ll never forget it for sure,” Hodgson said. “There’s a ton of what-ifs for the week. There wasn’t a single one that ended the week, but there’s a lot of compounding ones that definitely contributed to us not making the playoffs.
“I needed to be more clutch all week, and I feel bad for the guys that I wasn’t.”
Moskowy’s team posted a perfect 12-0 record to reach Sunday night’s final.
“Not too many teams have gone through this thing perfect,” Moskowy said. “We head into the final with momentum.”
Ontario’s Mat Camm (9-3) finished second and earned a trip to the semifinal, and will face either Newfoundland-Labrador’s Colin Thomas or New Brunswick’s Jon Rennie.
The Newfoundland and New Brunswick teams will play the event’s lone tie-breaker Friday at 2 p.m. at the Glencoe Club.