The Canadian men's curling team, skipped by Owen Purcell (Photo: Cheyenne Boone/WCF) are among the final four teams remaining in the men's event at the 2022 World Junior Curling Championships in Jonkoping.
By: Cameron Sallaj
With a victory in their final round robin draw Friday afternoon, Team Canada, headed by Owen Purcell of Halifax, have secured their playoff spot at the 2022 World Junior Curling Championships in Jonkoping, Sweden. The Purcell rink, with third Joel Krats, second Adam McEachren, lead Scott Weagle and alternate Scott Mitchell faced Sweden's Axel Landelius in draw 9 of the round robin.
A poor draw to the button by the Canadian side meant that Sweden would begin the match with the hammer. Landelius, and his team from Mjolby opted to blank the opening two ends and retain the hammer headed to the third.
Canada were able to force Sweden in the third end to just a single point, but gave up a steal in the fourth end to find themselves two nil down. A strong end in the fifth allowed the Canadian rink to tie the game at two points all.
In the sixth, the Swedish side had an opportunity for two points by playing a soft-weight tap around a guard. However, the Swedish skip, Axel Landelius, overcurled on his final stone, leaving a Canadian stone in scoring position. Sweden were able to get a single point back in the seventh to tie the game once again at three all.
Team Purcell were able to secure the victory in the following two ends, taking two in the eighth and stealing a single in the ninth to lead by three coming home. The deficit would prove to be to much for Sweden to comeback from and they conceded the match, gifting Canada its sixth win of the competition.
After the game, Canadian skip Owen Purcell said "We played a good game. Especially in the second half, we played extremely well. In the first half we were struggling a bit, we were failing at executing a couple shots, but I think that towards the second half we really dialed it into another gear, and I think we played really well."
With the win, Canada secured third place after the round robin, tied with Norway who they had previously beaten. In the semifinal, Canada will meet Germany's Benjamin Kapp whom they lost to 7-2 in draw 2 of the round robin. The second semifinal will feature Norway against the top seeded Scotland's James Craik. Both semifinal games will go at 8:00 AM Eastern Time on Saturday morning.
In the women's event, Team Isabelle Ladouceur from Sudbury were looking to secure two wins in Friday's play to avoid relegation into next years B Championship. The day started well for the Canadian women's rink, as they were able to bounce South Korea's Kang Bo-bae 10-3 in nine ends. Team Ladouceur then faced Japan's Sae Yamamoto in their final draw.
After leading 2-0 early in the game, Japan fought back with three points in the fifth end and a steal in the sixth to open up a 4-2 lead. Canada would later tie the match after ten, forcing an extra end. In that extra, the Japanese team were able to count one point to secure the victory and bounce Canada to the bottom of the standings.
With a 3-6 record, Team Ladouceur finished the round robin in ninth place overall, only ahead of Denmark's Karolina Jensen who finished 1-8. With this result Canada, along with Scotland, South Korea and Denmark are now relegated to the 2023 B Championship and must finish in the top three in order to qualify for the 2023 World Junior Curling Championships, scheduled to be held in Fussen, Germany. On the men's side, Italy, Sweden, and New Zealand were relegated.
The women's semifinals will feature Norway, the United States, Japan, and Sweden. Norway's Eirin Mesloe served as the alternate for the Norwegian team that competed at the 2022 World Women's Curling Championship and will look to use that experience to lead Norway to their second ever World Junior title. Her team will go up against Sweden's Moa Dryburgh, who finished round robin play with a 5-4 record but had the best draw to the button among Switzerland and Latvia. The other semifinal game will feature the United States' Delaney Strouse against Japan's Sae Yamamoto. The semifinals will be contested at 1:00 PM Eastern Time Saturday afternoon.
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