Manitoba, Ontario clinch junior curling playoff spots
Both rinks win 3rd-place tiebreakers Friday
Manitoba's Matt Dunstone and Ontario's Jamie Sinclair each won third-place tiebreakers Friday to clinch playoff berths at the national junior curling championships in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Sinclair's rink won 6-5 over the Yukon's Sarah Koltun, ending Koltun's bid to make the junior women's playoffs for the first time since the Yukon and Northwest Territories started sending separate teams.
Ontario will play Manitoba's Shannon Birchard in the semifinal Sunday morning, with the winner moving on to play B.C. in the final later in the day.
It was a bounce back performance for Sinclair, who was blown out by the Yukon 10-3 earlier in the day and lost 11-10 on Thursday night against B.C.'s Corryn Brown.
"Our team went through a lot this morning; it was a terrible game," said Sinclair. "It was not for us. We kind of broke down after that, but our ability to regroup, come out here and control the whole game, I think that says a lot about the personalities on our team.
"We're definitely happy with the way things are going, and after this game, we're feeling a little more confident."
Dunstone, meanwhile, followed up a nervous 6-5 extra end win over Saskatchewan's Brady Scharback earlier in the day by beating Ontario's Aaron Squires 11-8 in the tiebreaker.
Dunstone could only watch as Ontario last-rock thrower Jason Camm had an open hit for the win but was narrow and wrecked, giving Manitoba the stolen victory.
"Let's hope that doesn't happen again," said Dunstone. "That's a lot for all of us to take in one sitting. We're just glad to still be going."
Manitoba will take on Nova Scotia's Stuart Thompson in the semi Saturday. The winner moves into the championship game against Alberta's Thomas Scoffin.
"It's not over yet, right? We're not done with this thing until we lose and we're out," said Dunstone. "There's still lots of work to be done, and we're looking forward to it. They're [Nova Scotia] a great team. We're going to have to be on top of our game if we hope to make that final."