Strong starts for Saskatchewan

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Saskatchewan skip Sara England watches on as teammates Sarah Hoag and Jade Goebel sweep a rock Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre.

It was a picture-perfect start for Saskatchewan junior provincial champions Rylan Kleiter and Sara England at the Art Hauser Centre Saturday afternoon.

Kleiter’s rink from the Saskatoon Sutherland cruised to a 12-3 triumph over Nunavut’s Javen Komaksiutiksak, while England’s Regina Callie squad picked up a 10-5 win over Newfoundland & Labrador’s Mackenzie Glynn in their respective round-robin openers at the 2019 New Holland Canadian Juniors.

“We took this game as a learning opportunity for us,” Kleiter said. “There’s quite a bit that we can take from this one, especially when it comes to making precise shots.”

“During the opening five ends, we were really focused on getting our feet under us and making sure that we didn’t give up any big ends,” England added. “Once we got some confidence, we started to go for it a bit more and that allowed us to get some points on the board.”

England gave herself a bit of a cushion in the seventh end as she broke up a 4-4 tie with a three-ender, and matched that outcome in the ninth to force handshakes.

“A lot of that came down to us having a better feel of the ice conditions going into the last five ends,” England said. “I was able to get a good idea of the draw weight early on and that allowed us to get some more rocks in play as we went for those big ends.”

While England, the daughter of the late Sandra Schmirler, is competing in her third straight juniors, this marks the first time that the rest of the team has been at this event.

“The biggest advice that I gave them was to just draw on the experience that they had competing for Saskatchewan at the Under-18 nationals’ a couple of years ago,” England said.

“You don’t want to put any pressure on yourself as the host team. You just have to enjoy the moment regardless of if you win or lose.”

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Rylan Kleiter watches the line during the first end of Saskatchewan’s 12-3 win over Nunavut Saturday afternoon.

Kleiter’s opening contest was a bit of an interesting one, as Nunavut only had three players in their lineup due to an illness to second Jason Panikaladjuak.

“It can be tough where you are in a situation like that where your playing a team that’s short a guy,” Kleiter said. “It was important for us to make sure that we were staying focused and engaged in the game, even though we had a big lead.”

As the rink geared up for their third straight trip to the nationals, Kleiter and his teammates got a chance to play at the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling last week as they were invited to the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford.

“That was an awesome experience,” Kleiter said. “To be able to play at that level will help us out a lot, especially as we got an early handle on playing on arena ice before we came here.”

In the other men’s contests Saturday afternoon, New Brunswick’s Jack Smeltzer topped the Northwest Territories’ Sawer Kaser by a score of 7-2.

In a wild game at the Prince Albert Golf & Curling Club, Ontario’s Samuel Steep scored three points in the tenth end, benefited from a rare blank in the 11th and stole a point in the 12th to pick up an 8-7 triumph over Alberta’s Desmond Young.

Meanwhile, the women’s event saw Manitoba’s Mackenzie Zacharias beat the Northwest Territories’ Tyanna Bain 7-4, Alberta’s Selana Sturmay defeat Northern Ontario’s Kira Brunton 10-3, New Brunswick’s Justin Comeau top Prince Edward Island’s Lauren Ferguson 9-5 and British Columbia’s Sarah Daniels shutout Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen 14-0.

Standings After Draw 2

Men’s

Pool A

  • British Columbia (Tyler Tardi) – 1-0
  • Ontario (Samuel Steep) – 1-0
  • Saskatchewan (Rylan Kleiter) – 1-0
  • Alberta (Desmond Young) – 1-1
  • Nunavut (Javen Komaksiutikask) – 0-1
  • Newfoundland & Labrador (Greg Blyde) – 0-1
  • Yukon (Trygg Jensen) – 0-1

Pool B

  • Manitoba (J.T. Ryan) – 1-0
  • New Brunswick (Jack Smeltzer) – 1-0
  • Northern Ontario (Tanner Horgan) – 1-0
  • Prince Edward Island (Tyler Smith)
  • Northwest Territories (Sawer Kaeser) – 0-1
  • Nova Scotia (Graeme Weagle) – 0-1
  • Quebec (Vincent Roberge) – 0-1

Women’s

Pool A

  • Alberta (Selena Sturmay) – 1-0
  • British Columbia (Sarah Daniels) – 1-0
  • Host Team (Skylar Ackerman)
  • Nova Scotia (Kaitlyn Jones)
  • Ontario (Thea Coburn)
  • Northern Ontario (Kira Brunton) – 0-1
  • Nunavut (Sadie Pinksen) – 0-1

Pool B

  • Manitoba (Mackenzie Zacharias) – 1-0
  • Quebec (Laurie St-Georges) – 1-0
  • Saskatchewan (Sara England) – 1-0
  • New Brunswick (Justine Comeau) – 1-1
  • Northwest Territories (Tyanna Bain)
  • Newfoundland & Labrador (Mackenzie Glynn) – 0-1
  • Prince Edward Island (Lauren Ferguson) – 0-1

Draw 3 Schedule – 7:30 p.m.

Art Hauser Centre

  • Sheet A – Manitoba/Northwest Territories (Men’s)
  • Sheet B – Prince Edward Island/Quebec (Men’s)
  • Sheet C – Saskatchewan/Manitoba (Women’s)
  • Sheet D – Saskatchewan/Ontario (Men’s)
  • Sheet E – British Columbia/Ontario (Women’s)

Prince Albert Golf & Curling Club

  • Sheet F – British Columbia/Nunavut (Men’s)
  • Sheet G – Northwest Territories/Quebec (Women’s)
  • Sheet H – Nova Scotia/Host Team (Women’s)
  • Sheet I – Prince Edward Island/Newfoundland & Labrador (Women’s)