Alberta skip Carter Lautner, middle, encourages sweepers Kyle Morrison, left, and David Aho during Thursday's playoff-clinching victory over Northern Ontario at the junior curling nationals in Liverpool, N.S. Courtesy Canadian Curling Association
Alberta's Carter Lautner defeated Northern Ontario's Tanner Horgan 7-2 to clinch a playoff berth at the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior men's and women's curling championships.
"It's fantastic, it's great to finally make the playoffs," said Alberta second David Aho. "We still hold our destiny in our own hands. We just have to come out with two good games and we'll be right where we want to be.
"But we're where we want to be right now."
Alberta (7-3) will take on New Brunswick's Rene Comeau (7-3) in Sunday's semifinal at Queens Place Emera Centre. The winner will meet Manitoba's Braden Calvert (9-1) in the gold-medal game later in the day.
New Brunswick finished off its round-robin schedule with a 4-3 loss to Ontario's Ryan McCrady (6-4). In the other men's game, Nova Scotia's Robert Mayhew (6-4) picked up a 6-3 win over Saskatchewan's Tyler Hartung (6-4).
In the afternoon draw, the Yukon's Joe Wallingham (5-4) toppled Nunavut's Jamie Airut (0-9) by a score of 11-3, and P.E.I.'s Kyle Holland (3-6) stole points in the final four ends for a 9-8 win over Quebec's Adam Freilich (3-6).
In women's play, Nova Scotia's Mary Fay (8-2) locked up a semifinal berth with a 9-5 triumph over Quebec's Camille Boisvert (3-7). Nova Scotia will play B.C.'s Kalia Van Osch (8-2) in the semifinal with the winner will move on to Saturday's gold-medal game against Alberta's Kelsey Rocque (9-1).
In the other early women's game, Ontario's Molly Greenwood (7-3) earned a 10-5 victory over Saskatchewan's Kristen Streifel (4-6). An afternoon draw was scheduled for later Friday.
In the later draw, the Yukon's Sarah Koltun (5-4) finished with a 10-5 win over Newfoundland and Labrador's Sarah Hill (2-7).
Koltun now turns her focus to next months Canadian women's curling championship. She will represent the Yukon at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Montreal.
In other scores from the women's afternoon draw, Northern Ontario's Krysta Burns (4-5) cruised to a 10-4 win over Nunavut's Sadie Pinksen (0-9), and P.E.I.'s Veronica Smith (5-4) earned an 8-4 victory over Northwest Territories' Carina McKay-Saturnino (2-7).
The men's and women's champions will represent Canada at the world junior championships next month in Flims, Switzerland.