Going for a trifecta

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Two-time Canadian Men’s Junior Curling Champion skip Tyler Tardi watches the line during a practice session at the Prince Albert Golf & Curling Club Friday.

If anyone is looking for the key to Tyler Tardi’s success, it might be from planning ahead.

“We have a formula that just seems to work for us when it comes to settling in to where we are playing and getting into our groove before our first round-robin game,” Tardi said.

“It comes down to just finding what’s best for each other and what works best. We’ve seem to have found that and we plan to keep doing that for years to come.”

Whatever their secret is, Tardi and teammate Sterling Middleton have a chance to make history at the 2019 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Prince Albert.

The skip and third for British Columbia have won the last two national championships and can become the first men’s players to win three straight national titles.

“That’s always lingering in the back of your mind, especially after we won the provincials and earned the chance to come back to the nationals,” Tardi said.

“We’re just going to take things one step at a time though and hopefully we can achieve our goal once more.”

After finishing in third place in his first trip to the nationals in 2016, Tardi led his provice to a title a year later with a 9-7 win over Matthew Hall of Ontario.

He followed that up in 2018 with an 8-4 triumph over Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan and captured his first world title later that winter with a 6-5 extra end triumph over Scotland’s Ross Whyte.

“The way both weeks came together were pretty different,” said Middleton, who has been the third on the Tardi rink for the last two seasons.

“When we won in Victoria in 2017, we only lost one game all week and we played well to earn a bye straight into the final. Last year’s juniors (which were held in Shawinigan, Que.) were more of a grind. Tyler was sick during the week and we ended up winning a lot of close games that could have gone either way early, but we really played well in the playoffs once we got there.”

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald British Columbia second Matthew Hall and third Sterling Middleton sweep a rock Friday as they prepare for the 2019 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships.

The rink has also added some more experience as Hall headed out to British Columbia after playing for Ontario at the last three nationals.

“Our team had a discussion at the end of last year and we just weren’t having fun together anymore, so it pretty much ran its course for that group,” Hall said. “I knew that they were looking for a new second as (Jordan Tardi) was aging out, so I went out on a limb and asked if they needed someone, which led to me moving out there.

“It was a little weird to open up the boxes that our uniforms were in last night and to see the British Columbia colours, but the goal is still the same at the end of the day and I’m excited to play with a great group of guys.”

Alex Horvath, who is joining the rink at lead this year, also has experience at this event as he played in the same position on Cameron De Jong’s team in 2014.

British Columbia will open up their Pool A slate at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre against Trygg Jensen of the Yukon.

The rest of the group consists of Ontario’s Samuel Steep, Alberta’s Desmond Young, Newfoundland & Labrador’s Gregg Blyde, Saskatchewan’s Rylan Kleiter and Nunvaut’s Javen Komaksiutiksak.

Pool B features Horgan, Manitoba’s J.T. Ryan, Nova Scotia’s Graeme Weagle, Quebec’s Vincent Roberge, New Brunswick’s Jack Smeltzer, Prince Edward Island’s Tyler Smith and the Northwest Territories’ Sawer Kaeser.