Daniels defeats St-Georges for final women’s playoff spot

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald British Columbia skip Sarah Daniels reacts after throwing a shot in the eighth end of a women's tiebreaker game against Quebec's Laurie St-Georges at the Art Hauser Centre Friday.

One shot proved to be the difference maker at the Art Hauser Centre during Friday’s women’s tiebreaker game at the 2019 New Holland Canadian Juniors.

British Columbia skip Sarah Daniels made a runback double takeout to pick up four points in the seventh end as she would go on to defeat Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges by a score of 8-6 and earn a spot in Saturday’s semifinal against Nova Scotia’s Kaitlyn Jones.

“That four-ender was huge for us,” Daniels said.

“We kept things a little bit cleaner than we usually do as we were looking to make the makeable shots in the early ends. We waited for an opportunity and we finally got that in the seventh.”

St-Georges, who finished second in last year’s tournament, tied the game back up with two points in the eighth.

British Columbia would then blank the ninth end and score two points with the hammer in the final frame to earn the victory.

A silver medalist as a skip in 2016 and as a second on Kalia Van Osch’s rink in 2014, Daniels fell into the tiebreaker mix after losing 9-4 to New Brunswick’s Justin Comeau in her round-robin finale Friday morning.

“We just needed to calm our nerves a little bit,” Daniels said. “We were a little bit heightened up going into that game as we knew a win would get us into the playoffs and a loss would probably mean we’d have to play in the tiebreaker.

“I think a lot of the preparation that we’ve done this year really paid off today. We’ve stuck together as a team through the good and bad games, which has played a huge part in our success.”

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Kaitlyn Jones’ Nova Scotia rink discuss strategy with their coach Andrew Atherton during a round-robin game earlier this week.

After finishing off the round-robin with three straight wins, Nova Scotia was the beneficiaries of a three-way tie for second place as they joined British Columbia and Quebec with 7-3 records at the conclusion of Championship Pool play.

Since each team had a 1-1 record in their head-to-head matchups, the tie was broken via which rink had the best overall mark in the pre-game draw to the button during the round-robin, which put the defending national and world champions into the semifinal.

“We started off our week a little bit weaker as we were battling a little sickness, but we’ve started to find our groove once again,” Jones said after picking up a key win over Manitoba’s Mackenzie Zacharias Thursday night.

“We have some momentum now and we want to keep that going for as long as we can.”

Daniels previously played Jones on Monday morning and came away with an 8-7 round-robin victory.

“They are a very experienced rink and we know that they are going to bring their very best game,” Daniels said. “We’re going to throw everything that we can at them.”

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Alberta skip Selena Sturmay and vice Abby Marks plan out their shot during Friday morning’s games against Saskatchewan.

Awaiting the winner of Saturday’s semifinal, which gets underway at 1 p.m., is Alberta’s Selena Sturmay.

Her rink led the way through the round-robin with a perfect 10-0 mark and earned a bye into Sunday’s championship game, which begins at 10 a.m.

“To have a perfect record up to this point is certainly a happy surprise, especially with how strong the competition is here,” said Sturmay, who finished in fifth place in her previous trip to the nationals in 2016.

“We’re super excited to be in the final, as it was one of our goals coming into this week. Our entire team is playing well and hopefully we can pull out one more win.”

Alberta could become only the fifth women’s team, and the first since Ontario’s Rachel Homan in 2010, to run the table at the event.

Second Kate Goodhelpsen has an opportunity to win her second national title on Sunday, as she served the same role on Kristen Streifel’s championship winning side two years ago.

The men’s semifinal will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday between Manitoba’s J.T. Ryan and Saskatchewan’s Rylan Kleiter.

The winner of that game will advance to Sunday’s final at 3 p.m., where they will take on two-time defending national champion and reigning world title holder Tyler Tardi of British Columbia.

All four games will be held at the Art Hauser Centre and will air nationally on TSN.