Alberta defeats Ontario to win junior women’s curling championship
It was thievery at its finest Sunday morning as Alberta’s Kristen Streifel stole two points in the 10th end to defeat Ontario’s Hailey Armstrong 5-3 in the Canadian Junior Women’s Curling Championship at Archie Browning Sports Centre.
Tied 3-3 without last rock advantage, Streifel used clutch draws from second Kate Goodhelpsen and third Chantele Broderson and threw in one final one herself for good measure to set up the theft.
Armstrong’s final attempt to come around a pair of guards and out-draw or tap Streifel’s effort that was partially on the button was wide and heavy. It left the Ontario skip and her previously undefeated team of third Grace Holyoke, second Lindsay Dubue and lead Marcia Richardson in tears.Tied 3-3 without last rock advantage, Streifel used clutch draws from second Kate Goodhelpsen and third Chantele Broderson and threw in one final one herself for good measure to set up the theft.
Streifel, Broderson, Goodhelpsen and lead Brenna Bilassy become the fourth Alberta team to claim the Canadian crown in the last six years. Kelsey Rocque captured the 2014 and 2015 titles after Jocelyn Peterman brought home the gold in 2012.
“Oh my goodness, words can not describe the feeling. I’ve dreamed of this moment for so many years and to have it happen this week is just incredible,” said an elated Streifel, who now represents Canada at the World Junior Championship from Feb. 16-26 in Gangneung, South Korea.
This was Streifel’s fourth trip to junior nationals, but the previous three were while representing Saskatchewan in 2012, 2014 and 2015. She moved to Edmonton and the Saville Sports Centre, as it is located on the University of Alberta grounds, where the 21-year-old is a kinesiology student.
“We had a blast this week. Victoria was awesome, the ice was awesome. The volunteers were amazing,” said Streifel. “We just tried to put each game into perspective and at the end of the day, we just wanted to have a smile on our face and go home knowing we left it all on the ice.”
They did just that.
It was a defensive affair with five of the 10 ends blanked. Ontario opened with a deuce in the third end, which Alberta responded to with two in the sixth. Armstrong was forced to hit and roll in for one in the eighth and Alberta took one in the ninth, setting up the dramatic last end.
A pair of perfect Alberta draws behind cover were answered by clutch run-back double takeouts by Ontario, but Streifel made her last draw and then threw a perfect guard that took away any possible Armstrong run-back.
Armstrong’s out-turn side was also cluttered by a guard and she was forced to play a draw or soft-weighter to tap the buried Alberta stone. Her attempt just never curled enough and gave Streifel the win.
“We don’t mind that scenario,” Streifel said of being tied without last-rock advantage. “Actually, we prefer it sometimes. We like to put a little pressure on the other team and we know if we just focus on placing our rocks in the right spot, the rest will take care of itself.
“We had three perfect draws in a row,” she said of the 10th end. “They made some great run-backs, too. It was a battle in the 10th end, for sure.”
“I think the game was very well played out. We just had a couple of misses that were crucial,” said a teary Armstrong. “The shot at the end was really hard because it (the Alberta stone) was over-buried.”
While Alberta wins its fourth junior women’s championship in the last six years, Ontario last won the crown in 2010 when Rachel Homan broke a 16-year drought.
“This team has been together only one year so I think we did pretty well coming in second and finishing 10-1,” added Armstrong.