Of the three Saskatchewan junior men’s provincial curling championships that Saskatoon’s Rylan Kleiter has won, Monday’s triumph has the most meaning to it.
The skip from the Sutherland Curling Club, who is joined on his rink by third Trevor Johnson, second Joshua Mattern and lead Matthieu Taillon, earned the right to represent his province at the 2019 New Holland Canadian Juniors in Prince Albert next month with a 13-4 triumph over clubmate Tyler Camm on their home ice.
“We’re really looking forward to being in Prince Albert in a few weeks,” Kleiter said. “There’s going to be a lot of fans out there and we’re excited to play in front of people that we know.
“All four of us have a better idea of what to expect at the nationals now . Our first year was a little shaky and we were learning the ropes a bit last year, but now we feel ready to go.”
Kleiter concluded a perfect tournament in style Monday as he picked up a seven-ender in the sixth end and forced Camm to concede the match.
“I certainly didn’t expect the game to end like that,” Kleiter said. “It was back and forth early on but we were just waiting to take our chances and try to take advantage of any mistakes they made.
“It was pretty similar to how the 1 vs. 2 Page playoff game went against them Sunday. We kept patient out there in order to get multiple points.”
Despite the tough result in the final, it was still a solid weekend for the Camm rink, who advanced to the championship contest with a 10-7 win over fellow Saskatoon Sutherland member Brayden Stewart in the semifinal Monday morning.
“We’re pretty happy with how we played through the entire event,” said Camm, who was joined on his team by third Gavin Steckler, second Caid Brossart and lead Andrew Derkesen.
“It was just one bad end that cost in the final. We were behind and we trying to catch up, so we ended up selling the farm a little bit.”
Having missed out on the championship pool in his last two trips to the nationals, the goal for the Kleiter rink in Prince Albert is to be in the mix for a playoff spot at the end of the round-robin.
“A lot of that comes down to our mental game,” Kleiter said. “If we have the same approach as we did here in our home club for the provincials, we should do have a good week.”
Before they compete at the Canadian Juniors, which will take place at the Art Hauser Centre and Prince Albert Golf & Curling Club from Jan. 19-29, the Kleiter foursome will have a chance to take part in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling’s Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford from Jan. 8-13.
Their first game in the triple knockout event will be against three-time Tim Hortons Brier champion Kevin Koe.