NAPANEE, ONT. - An excellent Edmonton junior men’s rink punched its ticket to the world junior curling championships in Sweden with another near-flawless performance Sunday night at the Strathcona Paper Centre.
Alberta skip Brendan Bottcher’s rink, playing as if it was on a mission right from the opening game of the round-robin, finally put away tenacious Northern Ontario with a 9-6 victory to win the M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior championship. Alberta also won the women’s championship a night earlier when Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer beat Manitoba.
Bottcher owned the four foot with his draw weight — he was scored at 94% — and that was the deciding factor.
Bottcher, one up with last rock for the 10th end, made a terrific first-shot draw that essentially choked off the four-foot and left Northern Ontario skip Brennan Work with virtually no shot to get the tying point he would need. Wark drew a little deep and Alberta celebrated its Canadian title without skip Bottcher throwing his final shot.
“We came here and proved were were the best. We were on mission and it is mission accomplished,” Alberta third Evan Asmussen said.
“We’re going to the worlds and do our best.”
The Alberta rink will represent Canada at the world junior championship, March 3 to 11 in Ostersund, Sweden.
Wark brought his rink back from an early 3-0 hole and then tied it at 5-5 but once Alberta broke ahead with a two-count in the seventh, there was no catching the Edmonton rink.
“Disappointing we didn’t get the win, but Alberta played really well and deserved it,” Wark said.
“The skip was playing lights out that game. It was a great last shot he played. I didn’t have hardly anything there.”
Asmussen credited his skip.
“Brendan came to play,” he said. “Our goal was to just make sure he had the easiest shot possible. We’re so happy he didn’t have to throw his easiest shot he could. He made the first one so well, it was history after that,” Asmussen said.
Bottcher felt he had won the game when he made his first shot.
“It was right where we wanted to go. We didn’t feel he had a real shot,” Bottcher said.
“It was a great game. I’m just happy we came out on top and accomplished what we came here for.”
It was the 16th Canadian title for Alberta but the first for Bottcher’s rink which includes twins Landon and Bryce Bucholz on the front end.
Team Alberta arrived in Napanee on a mission, armed with the experience of playing in the 2010 championship and humbled somewhat when a second trip to the nationals didn’t occur last year.
Bottcher said earlier in the week that both experiences helped prepare his rink for Napanee.
“We learned how tough it was to get out of the province of Alberta. I think it all helped us this week,” Bottcher said.
The world championship will be played Ostursund, Sweden. It is the second time the Swedish city has hosted the world juniors.
John Morris won his second straight world junior title in Ostursund in 1999.