Alberta's Kelsey Rocque defeated New Brunswick's Jessica Daigle 8-4 on Thursday to lock up a playoff spot at the Canadian junior curling championships in Liverpool, N.S.
The Edmonton-based team of Rocque, Keely Brown, Taylor McDonald and Claire Tully improved to 8-1 with the victory. Rocque opened the tournament with seven straight victories before dropping a 6-3 decision to Nova Scotia's Mary Fay on Wednesday night.
The three-team playoff round begins Saturday.
"Of course, it's always in the back of our minds," Rocque said. "We knew that if we won, we should get a playoff spot. But that [loss], we definitely pushed it aside. We had a rough game last night and we knew we had to come back and play well."
B.C.'s Kalia Van Osch moved into sole possession of second place at 7-2 after a 7-4 win over Manitoba's Meaghan Brezden. Nova Scotia's Mary Fay was third at 6-2 while Ontario's Molly Greenwood improved to 6-3 after posting a 9-3 rout of Quebec's Camille Boisvert.
The second- and third-place teams will play in the women's semifinal. The winner will advance to the gold-medal game Saturday afternoon against the first-place team.
In men's play, New Brunswick's Rene Comeau clinched at least a tiebreaker berth with a 5-4 win over Northern Ontario's Tanner Horgan.
B.C.'s Cameron de Jong beat Braden Calvert 8-6 to hand the Manitoba skip his first loss of the round robin. Manitoba has already clinched a berth in the men's gold-medal game Sunday.
Comeau was alone in second place at 7-2 while four rinks were tied at 5-3. Two more draws were scheduled for later Thursday at the Queens Place Emera Centre and the Liverpool Curling Club.
Playoff games will be played at Queens Place Emera Centre.
Alberta leads all provinces and territories with 16 Canadian junior men's titles since the first tournament in 1950 in Quebec City. Saskatchewan leads with 11 titles since the inaugural junior women's event in 1971 in Vancouver.
The 2014 champions will represent Canada at the Feb. 26-March 5 world junior curling championship in Flims, Switzerland.