FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Corryn Brown’s Kamloops team defeated Manitoba’s Shannon Birchard 6-3 on Sunday night to win the women’s Canadian junior curling championships.
Brown’s team of 17-year-olds — third Erin Pincott, second Sam Fisher and lead Sydney Fraser — will represent Canada later this month at the world juniors in Sochi, Russia.
It was B.C.’s first gold medal at the tournament since 1987 when Julie Sutton won her second straight with a victory in Prince Albert, Sask.
“It feels incredible,” said Brown. “It hasn’t really sunk in too much right now. But it’s just unbelievable. Going to Russia is going to be incredible, and having the Maple Leaf on our back is going to be even better. I could not be more proud of these girls.”
It was a tight first five ends, with B.C. taking a 1-0 lead with a single point in the fourth when Brown made an open hit while looking at three Manitoba counters.
Birchard responded in the sixth when she made a cold draw to the four-foot to score two and take her first lead of the game.
But B.C. answered back in the seventh as Brown made a spectacular triple takeout to score three and take a 4-2 lead.
“We were fortunate enough to have that set up, and we thought the worst we can do if I miss it is give up one,” said Brown. “So we thought the benefits outweighed the risks. We tried and ended up making it.”
In the eighth end, Birchard was looking at five B.C. rocks in the rings, but coolly drew to bite a piece of the button to score one and cut Brown’s lead to 4-3.
Brown made an open hit for a single in the ninth to restore her two-point lead.
In the 10th, Birchard had a runback double takeout to score two and force an extra end, but the rock jammed, giving B.C. a steal and the victory.
“There was just so much moving at once, and then all of a sudden ours stopped just outside of the eight-foot, and we knew we won it,” said Brown. “It’s an incredible feeling to know that we did enough to pull out that win in the last end.”
It was the second straight year that Winnipeg’s Birchard has finished second at the Canadian juniors. Playing with lead Mariah Mondor, she lost last year’s final to Alberta’s Jocelyn Peterman at Napanee, Ont.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking,” Birchard said. “Coming back into this, it was a way better final than last year. Just a couple missed shots here and there that really killed us. I was deep with my last shot in the seventh and set up that automatic triple for three. It was there all day and she was going to make it up, no matter what.”
Her team this year was rounded out by third Nicole Sigvaldason and second Sheyna Andries.
“They’re a great team and they’re going to represent the country really well in Sochi,” added Birchard.
Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone won the men’s final on Saturday.