Although they both had perfect records this weekend at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club, the routes that Tanner Kinaschuk and Skylar Ackerman took to qualify for this month’s Saskatchewan Junior Provincial curling playdowns were very different.
For Kinaschuk, who skips a rink out of the Saskatoon Sutherland club, his 9-8 win over Brandon Zuravloff of Yorkton in Saturday’s ‘A’ event at the third and final junior qualifier locked him into the provincials for the first time.
“My brother (Reese, who is the third for the rink) and I have been to the Under-18 provincials and the Saskatchewan Winter Games, but we’ve never been to the juniors before,” Kinaschuk said.
“This is my last year of eligibility at the junior level, so to be able to make it to the provincials and have a chance to play in our home club is a wonderful opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Ackerman will be heading to her third junior provincial playdowns as her Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre rink captured the ‘A’ event crown with a 7-2 win in eight ends over Moosomin’s Elliot Martens.
“We’re still one of the youngest teams at the provincials, so it’s always an exciting opportunity for us to be able to go there,” Ackerman said. “We played well all weekend and this will give us some nice momentum for the Canada Games Trials in North Battleford in a couple of weeks, which will also be a good tune-up for the provincials.”
Ackerman, who is joined on her rink by third Madison Johnson, second Chantel Hoag and lead Samantha McLaren, was down 2-1 to Martens after three ends but was able to steal points in the last four ends to pick up the win.
“I think our steal of two in the fifth end was a real turning point for us,” Ackerman said. “We really started to get back to playing how we usually do in that end, and we just stayed patient the rest of the way.”
As for the Kinachuk foursome, which includes second Evan Schmidt and lead Andrew Mitchell, their ‘A’ final had a lot more drama to it.
After giving up a steal of two in the ninth end to trail 8-6 to Zuravloff, Kinachuk was able to use the hammer to his advantage in the final frame as he made a draw to the eight-foot to score three points and pick up the win.
“Our mindset going into the 10th was to get the two points and force an extra end,” Kinachuk said. “As things played out, we realized that we had a chance to get three, but we needed to capitalize on our opportunity.
“I was able to bump one of their rocks back on my first shot to sit shot stone, but it didn’t go as far back as I would have liked. Unfortunately for Brandon, he got a little bit unlucky on his takeout attempt, which left us with a chance to win the game.”
Three more spots in the men’s and women’s event at the provincials, which will be held at the Sutherland in Saskatoon from Dec. 27-31 and will see the winners represent Saskatchewan at the New Holland Canadian Juniors in Prince Albert next month, will be decided Sunday.
The ‘B’ event finals will take place at 2 p.m., while the ‘C’ event qualifiers will be held at 6 p.m.
Shellbrook’s Brooklyn Fahl is still in the mix for a provincial berth, as her rink will take on Jessica Farquharson of Saltcoast in a ‘B’ semifinal at 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, Prince Albert’s Bryden Tessier saw his event come to an end Saturday as his rink lost an 8-7 ‘C’ event matchup to Evan Lalonde of Saskatoon.