FREEMAN FINISHES FIRST; NORRIS-PETERSON SEMIFINAL IN U-18 MEN`S

Jace Freeman (Virden) and his team won a pair of games Friday to earn the first place bye to the final in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Men`s Championship in Altona.

The wins over Nash Sugden (Morden) and Zach Norris (Morris) gave the Freeman team, which has already earned the right to represent Manitoba in the Canada Winter Games, a final record of 5W-1L. Along with the bye to the final, they also earned the first of two available invitations to attend the nationals in Timmins, ON in early February.

Norris had earlier won over Nathan Poklar (East St. Paul) so their final 4W-2L record earned them a spot in the Saturday morning semifinal against Ronan Peterson (Heather).

Norris finishes with a 4W-2L record, tied with Ronan Peterson (Heather) who had a last round bye. Peterson and Norris will meet in the semi-final Saturday morning.

Peterson won over Luke Robins (West St. Paul) on the morning draw and had the afternoon bye to finish with a 4W-2L record as well.

Colton Olafson (Portage) had a morning bye and chance to move into the 4W-2L tie but lost 8-4 to Luke Robins (West St. Paul) and finished 3W-3L, out of the playoffs.

Nash Sugden (Morden) also had a playoff chance when the day began but had to win two games on the final day. The Morden team earned a split with the loss to Freeman and a win over Nathan Poklar (East St. Paul).

The semi-final is at 9AM and the final at 1PM Saturday.

FREEMAN, NORRIS, PETERSON ALL WITH TWO WINS AT U-18 MEN’S

Jace Freeman (Virden), Zach Norris (Morris) and Ronan Peterson (Heather) have all completed the second day of play in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Men’s Championship with a pair of victories.

Ronan Peterson

Freeman, who had a third round bye, leads the way with a perfect 2W-0L record. Norris and Peterson are both at 2W-1L after a third round game between the two, won by Peterson.

It was a critical win for Team Peterson, highly ranked coming into the event. They had lost their opener and needed to avoid a second loss this early in the event.

 Peterson’s early Wednesday win over Colton Olafson (Portage) set up an evening match with unbeaten Zach Norris (Morris). Norris opened with a deuce but gave up 6 points over the next four ends to trail 6-2 in a 9-5 win for Peterson.

Key to the championship aspirations of both Peterson and Norris is the fact that both have yet to play Freeman.

The U-18 Men’s playoff will see the first place team advance to the final with second and third meeting in the semifinal. The two finalists will each win an invitation to compete in the nationals.

OPENING GAME WINS FOR U-18 FAVOURITES

Luke Robins looks on as Jace Freeman calls sweeping

Jace Freeman’s Virden team and Dayna Wahl’s Altona team opened play in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Championships with wins: Freeman last evening over Luke Robins (West St, Paul) and Wahl this morning over Meghan Lagardi (Pembina).

In the Men’s the Robins team is also highly rated as is Ronan Peterson’s Heather team whose first round loss to Nash Sugden (Morden) would be considered a minor upset.

The third winner on the Men’s first draw were Zach Norris (Morris) over Colton Olafson (Portage).

Dayna Wahl, with sweeper Gillian Hildebrand

On the Women’s first draw, co-favourite Grace Beaudry (St. Vital) was a 6-end winner over Swan River’s Leadbeater team. Shalea Hayward’s Carman, considered to be among the contenders, scored three coming home to tie but lost on an extra end to Dauphin’s  Shayna Benson team (skipped by Chloe Haluschak).

Karys Buchalter’s West St. Paul team won the fourth opening round game (over Soringfield’s Julia Van Ryssel team)

ALTONA HOST CURLMANITOBA U-18 CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGINNING TONIGHT

CurlManitoba’s U-18 Championships begin tonight in Altona – with 7 young men’s teams and 10 young women’s teams participating. The men play a 7 team, 6 game round robin while the women are split in two pools of five for a four game round robin.

It will be a first major test for the two teams which won the Canada Games Trials at Heather in November. Dayna Wahl’s Altona team and Jace Freeman’s Virden team will be out to prove it was no fluke that they earned the Canada Games berth and that they should be one of the two Manitoba teams at the Canadian U-18’s in early February in Timmins, ON as well.

In the Men’s U-18 Championship, Freeman and Elias Huminicki were on last year’s winning McDonald team and their lead, Jack Steski, was on the finalist team a year ago. The combined credentials identify them as the favorite. Rylan Graham, their fourth player, also played in this event a year ago. 

At Heather after winning the Canada Games Trials (front Altona’s Dayna Wahl, Piper Stoesz, Anna Marie Ginters, Gillian Hildebrand, Coach Keith Stoesz AND back Rylan Graham, Jack Steski, Elias Huminicki, Jace Freeman, Coach Graham Freeman)

Huminicki is already the leader in games played at the Manitoba U-18 Men’s Championship – having played 26 games in four previous appearances. He is poised to move ahead of his former skip, Jordon McDonald, into first place on the list of most games won. With 17 previous wins he is tied for second in that stats category, behind only McDonald who won 20 games out of 21 played as he skipped the 2019, 2020, and 2022 champion teams. (The event was cancelled due to covid in 2021).

Cameron Olafson, who was also on the winning McDonald team a year ago, is skipping his own Portage team this year. Two other members of the 2022 finalist Ryan Ostrowsky team are also playing this year. Luke Robins is skipping a West St. Paul team with Logan Strand at lead. They lost the Canada Games Trials semi-final. Finalist Ronan Peterson’s Heather team, the only team in the championship from inside the perimeter highway, is also competing in Altona.

In the Women’s U-18 Championship, Team Wahl (Piper Stoesz, Anna Marie Ginters, Gilian Hildebrand) topped their round robin pool in last year`s championship but lost in the semi-final to Grace Beaudry who went on to lose the final. Beaudry has recruited Cassidy Dundas and Tessa Terrick from last year`s champion team. With Lauren Evason rounding out the squad, the Wahl & Beaudry teams can be considered co-favourites this year. It is notable that Beaudry recently won a 2023 Scotties berth (with a different team).

Altona’s Mackenzie Zacharias teams won three consecutive U-18 titles in 2015-1026-2017. Tessa Terrick and Cassidy Dundas have each won 17 games in previous U-18 appearances, a number well behind the leading 38 games played by Meghan Walter in seven appearances at the event.

The Altona Curling Club hosts the championship action, beginning with an 8PM Men`s draw this evening and continuing to playoffs at 9AM and 1PM on Saturday.

TEAM TOBER & TEAM MCDONALD WIN TELUS JUNIORS

(Sunday, February 27: 5:00PM) Tansy Tober and her Fort Garry team passed their big test of the day on the morning draw when they won the semi-final of the Telus Junior Women’s championship in Brandon (6-4 over Grace Beaudry-St Vital).

The win meant that Tober, Caitlin Kostna, Lex Sigurdson, Stephanie Feeleus, and Coach Deb Popovic had already won an invitation to the national championship when the final started.

(l-r) Tansy Tober, Caitlin Kostna, Lex Sigurdson, Stephanie Feeleus, and Coach Deb Popovic

With the pressure off for that final game against previously undefeated Morgan Maguet-East St. Paul, the Tober team played a relaxed, controlling game in an 11-4 victory. They earned their spot as provincial champions in the provincial record books and will wear the Manitoba colours at the nationals.

Maguet, Kylie Lippens, Lauren Evason, Danica Metcalfe, and Assistant Coach Chris Lippens  will be the Manitoba wild card team at the nationals in Stratford, Ontario in late March.

(Sunday, February 27: 12:30PM) Jordon McDonald (Reece Hamm, Elias Huminicki, Alexandre Fontaine, Coach Blaine Malo) have won Manitoba Telus Junior Men’s Championship.

(r-l) Jordon McDonald (Reece Hamm, Elias Huminicki, Alexandre Fontaine, Coach Blaine Malo)

Team McDonald will wear Manitoba’s colours at the Canadian Juniors in late March in Stratford, Ontario after controlling play all game against Aaron Van Ryssel- Springfield.

McDonald built a 4 point lead by the fifth end, on three single steals. Van Ryssel’s team played well but simply could never build an end in the 6-3 victory.

Solace for Van Ryssel and his team (Peter Albig, Jonah Peterson, Colin Desaulniers, Coach Faith Van Ryssel) – they will also be going on to the national championship as the Manitoba wild card team.

(Saturday, February 26: 11:30PM) MAGUET INTO JUNIOR WOMEN FINAL, BEAUDRY-TOBER SEMI-FINAL: Morgan Maguet and her East St. Paul team won the Telus Junior Women’s Page 1-1 game Saturday, a 7-4 victory over Grace Beaudry – St. Vital. The win earned the Maguet foursome a berth in the provincial final game at 2PM Sunday. It also earned them the first Manitoba invitation to the Canadian championship in late March.

Beaudry dropped to the Sunday 9:30AM semi-final where her team will play Tansy Tober’s Fort Garry foursome. Tober had to win two games Saturday. After losing the final round robin game on the morning draw (7-6 to Emily Ogg), Team Tober had to win a tiebreaker (7-3 over Emma Jensen) and then the Page 2-2 game (6-2 over Zoey Terrick).

Terrick’s team had also won a tiebreaker (10-8 over Ogg), setting up the 3-game Saturday for both Terrick and Tober.

With Reece Hamm directing, Jordon McDonald’s front end Elias Huminicki and Alexandre Fontaine sweep the final rock to curl inside the guard to the four foot for two.

(Saturday, February 26: 11PM) JUNIOR MEN FINAL: MCDONALD VS VAN RYSSEL: Top seeded Jordon McDonald’s Deer Lodge team, undefeated in six games including the Saturday afternoon Page 1-1 game, will play Aaron Van Ryssel and his Springfield team in Manitoba’s Telus Junior Men’s Championship Sunday at 9:30AM.

Both advanced with wins over Jordan Johnson (Heather).

In the Page 1-1 game, with both teams undefeated, McDonald controlled play and marked up a 6-1 eight-end victory. Johnson dropped to the semi-final to play Van Ryssel, who had won the Page 2-2 game over Thomas McGillivray.

Aaron Van Ryssel and third Peter Albig try to figure out how to score two red stones with last rock on the sixth end. Yellow stole one this time.

The close semi-final was tied after four, six and nine ends with Johnson holding the hammer coming home. With that last rock, Johnson faced a tough choice: either draw the button to win or play a short runback double kill with a nose hit for the win. He chose to hit but was a bit high-side and missed removing the second rock. The steal gave Van Ryssel an 8-7 win.

The game Sunday morning will be for the provincial championship honours but both teams have already earned the privilege of an invitation to the Canadian New Holland Juniors as Manitoba has both a Team Manitoba and a Manitoba Wild Card entry.

(Saturday, February 26: 12:00PM) JUNIOR WOMEN TIEBREAKER GAMES NEEDED: In a story here at the curler.com, back in early December, William Lyburn stated there were “5 OR 6” teams who he thought could win the provincial Telus Junior Women’s.

As of 12:15PM Saturday, six teams are still in the running.

Pool winners Morgan Maguet and Grace Beaudry and their teams are through to the Page 1-1 Playoff game with 5W-0L and 4W-1L records respectively.

Four teams with 3W-2L records still have a chance – but they have to win tiebreaker draws to reach the Page 3-4 game. On the ice are Zoey Terrick playing Emily Ogg and Emma Jensen playing Tansy Tober.

The Ogg and Jensen teams created the logjam. Both had 2W-2L records going into the morning draw. Both were victorious – Jensen over Terrick and Ogg with a steal on the tenth end to beat Tober.

FINAL STANDINGS: ASHAM BLACK POOL- JR WOMEN
5-0 Morgan Maguet – East St. Paul
3-2 Zoey Terrick – Neepawa
3-2 Emma Jensen – Heather
2-3 Samantha Gevers – St. Vital
2-3 Dayna Wahl – Altona
0-5 Shaela Hayward – Carman

FINAL STANDINGS: ASHAM EXPRESS RED POOL– JR WOMEN
4-1 Grace Beaudry – St. Vital
3-2 Tansy Tober – Fort Garry
3-2 Emily Ogg – Assiniboine Memorial
3-2 Cheyenne Ehnes – Assiniboine Memorial
2-3 Bethany Allan – St. Vital
0-5 Cloe Haluschak – Swan River

CurlManitoba Photo: Aaron Van Ryssel and his third Peter Albig

(Friday, February 25: 11PM) JUNIOR MEN PLAYOFF SETS, FINAL JUNIOR WOMEN DRAW SATURDAY: Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) and Jordan Johnson (Heather) kept their perfect records intact with wins on the final round robin draw of the Telus Junior Men`s Championship in Brandon.

The two will meet in the Saturday 4PM Page 1-1 Playoff game. THe winner will play inthe Sunday morning final while the loser goes to the late Saturday semi-final.

Thomas McGillivray (Fort Garry) and Aaron Van Ryssel (Springfield) both had to win their final games to improve to 4W-1L and avoid the potential of playing a tiebreaker game. Both were victorious and they will meet in the Page 2-2 Playoff. The winner will advance to the semi-final.

FINAL STANDINGS:ASHAM BLACK POOL – JR MEN
5-0 Jordon McDonald – Deer Lodge
4-1 Thomas McGillivray – Fort Garry
3-2 Lucas Pedersen – Rivers
2-3 Luke Steski – West St. Paul
1-4 Cam Olafson – East St. Paul
0-5 Tanner Graham – Petersfield

STANDINGS:ASHAM EXPRESS RED POOL – JR MEN
5-0 Jordan Johnson – Heather
4-1 Aaron Van Ryssel – Springfield
3-2 Jace Freeman – Virden
1-4 Jack Lyburn – Brandon
1-4 Ronan Peterson – Fort Rouge
1-4 Matthew Bijl – Assiniboine Memorial

Playoffs in the Telus Junior Women’s event will also be sorted out on the final draw, Saturday at 8:30AM.

Morgan Maguet has the only only perfect 4W-0L record and Zoey Terrick has a 3W-1L record after four games. The two can advance with wins Saturday morning. Terrick plays Emma Jensen while Maguet plays Samantha Gevers. Both Gevers and Jensen have 2W-2L records so a Jensen win over Terrick creates the possibility of three teams finishing with 3W-2L records.

In the other pool, Tansy Tober, Cheyenne Ehnes, and Grace Beaudry share the lead at 3W-1L. Emily Ogg’s record of 2W-2L has her team still in the playoff chase as well.

Saturday morning, Beaudry plays Ehnes so the winner, at 4W-1L, will advance to the playoffs. Tober plays Ogg, so a Tober win would mean a 4W-1L record and the  second playoff spot but a Tober loss means a 3-way tie at 3W-2L.

One tiebreaker draw, if needed, takes place Saturday early afternoon.

STANDINGS:ASHAM BLACK POOL
4-0 Morgan Maguet – East St. Paul
3-1 Zoey Terrick – Neepawa
2-2 Samantha Gevers – St. Vital
2-2 Emma Jensen – Heather
1-3 Dayna Wahl – Altona
0-4 Shaela Hayward – Carman

STANDINGS:ASHAM EXPRESS RED POOL
3-1 Cheyenne Ehnes – Assiniboine Memorial
3-1 Grace Beaudry – St. Vital
3-1 Tansy Tober – Fort Garry
2-2 Emily Ogg – Assiniboine Memorial
1-3 Bethany Allan – St. Vital
0-4 Cloe Haluschak – Swan River

(Thursday, February 24: 11PM) JUNIOR MEN LEADERS AT 3W-0L, JUNIOR WOMEN LEAD AT 2W-0L: Four teams have separated themselves from the pack in the Telus Junior Men’s Championship underway in Brandon. All four posted a pair of wins Thursday after winning their openers to end the day with perfect 3W-0L records.

Thomas McGillivray-Fort Garry and Jordon McDonald-Deer Lodge in one pool and Jordan Johnson-Heather and Aaron Van Ryssel-Springfield are all still perfect. Close behind, both at 2W-1L, are Jace Freeman-Virden (in the Johnson-Van Ryssel group) and Luke Steski-West St. Paul (in the McGillivray-McDonald group).

The noon draw Friday in Brandon will be key in determining the first two playoff teams. McGillivray faces McDonald and Johnson faces Van Ryssel. The winners will improve their perfect records to 4W-0L.

STANDINGS:ASHAM BLACK POOL
3-0 Thomas McGillivray – Fort Garry
3-0 Jordon McDonald – Deer Lodge
2-1 Luke Steski – West St. Paul
1-2 Lucas Pedersen – Rivers
0-3 Cam Olafson – East St. Paul
0-3 Tanner Graham – Petersfield

STANDINGS:ASHAM EXPRESS RED POOL
3-0 Jordan Johnson – Heather
3-0 Aaron Van Ryssel – Springfield
2-1 Jace Freeman – Virden
1-2 Jack Lyburn – Brandon
0-3 Ronan Peterson – Fort Rouge
0-3 Matthew Bijl – Assiniboine Memorial

In the Telus Juniors Women’s Championship, three teams completed the first day of play with perfect 2W-0L records. Cheyenne Ehnes-AMCC stands alone at the top of one pool while Morgan Maguet-East St. Paul and Zoey Terrick-Neepawa lead the other pool – all with two victories Thursday.

The wins by Team Terrick (over Samantha Gevers-St. Vital) and Team Ehnes (over Bethany Allan-St. Vital) leaves the losers at 1W-1L along with four other teams.

They include Emma Jensen-Heather, Grace Beaudry-St. Vital, and Emily Ogg-AMCC who were winners on the 4PM draw after losing their openers and Tansy Tober-Fort Garry who lost their second game after winning their opener.

STANDINGS:ASHAM BLACK POOL
2-0 Morgan Maguet – East St. Paul
2-0 Zoey Terrick – Neepawa
1-1 Samantha Gevers – St. Vital
1-1 Emma Jensen – Heather
0-2 Dayna Wahl – Altona
0-2 Shaela Hayward – Carman

STANDINGS:ASHAM EXPRESS RED POOL
0-2 Cheyenne Ehnes – Assiniboine Memorial
1-1 Bethany Allan – St. Vital
1-1 Grace Beaudry – St. Vital
1-1 Emily Ogg – Assiniboine Memorial
1-1 Tansy Tober – Fort Garry
0-2 Cloe Haluschak – Swan River

(Wednesday, February 24: 10PM) FAVOURED TEAMS WIN OPENERS IN TELUS JUNIORS: With two full years having passed since the last provincial junior championships, there has been a major turnover in the junior ranks. The names have changed but the excitement to compete, the eagerness to win, and the excellence of the top teams all remain.

Team McGillvray, MJCT Champions – winners on the Telus Juniors opening draw

The junior men’s competition opened this evening in Brandon. They play a pair of games tomorrow and two more on Friday for their five round-robin games.

In a what have you won recently assessment, among the favourites are Thomas McGillivray and his Fort Garry team, ranked #4 on the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour ranking, based mainly on an extra end win in the MJCT Tour Championship after modest success over the Tour season. Team McGillivray opened with a 6-end victory over Tanner Graham (Petersfield).

Jordon McDonald – an opening round Telus victor

Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge), whose most recent bonspiel was the Viterra Championship where his team posted a 2W-2L record – losing two qualifying games, is ranked #2 on the MJCT. They lost that Tour Championship final to McGillivray and won a pair of events during the season. Their opener in Brandon went the distance with McDonald one up with hammer coming home as he posted a 7-5 victory.

MJCT #1 Jordan Johnson and his Heather team, winners of three season events, were 8-end winners over Matthew Bijl (Assiniboine Memorial).\

MJCT #3 Jace Freeman (Virden), winners of one season event, trailed Ronan Peterson (Fort Rouge) early but came back to lead 7-5 with a three on the ninth end. They scored a point on an extra end for a first game 8-7win.

In the other two games, Lucas Pederson (Rivers) defeated Cam Olafson (East St. Paul) and Aaron Van Ryssel (Springfield) defeated Jack Lyburn (Brandon).

The U-21 Manitoba Junior Women’s Championship first draw is Thursday morning.

(Wednesday, February 23 8PM) TELUS JUNIORS UNDERWAY IN BRANDON: Manitoba’s Telus Junior Championships are underway at the Brandon Curling Club. Twelve team fields in each of the Junior men’s and Junior Women’s events will play a round-robin in pools of six. A Page Playoff will follow after their five games.

Two berths to compete in both the U-21 Men and U-21 Women New Holland Canadian Junior Championships will be available through the Manitoba Telus Juniors. The Manitoba champions will wear Manitoba’s official colours at the Canadians while the finalist in each case will be the wild card team, identified as Manitoba #2.

Why? As with other championships in these covid seasons, the Juniors will each feature a field of 18 teams. The extra teams include one for the province or territory of each of the three podium teams from the 2020 championships (the last ones staged!).

So Manitoba’s juniors have two reasons to be thankful in regard to 2020 World Champions Jacques Gauthier and Mackenzie Zacharias. First, winning the Canadians in 2020 earned a spot this year for two Manitoba teams instead of one. Second, they can be thankful those teams aged out – making the competitions wide open this year.

The Canadian Juniors will be played March 25-April 1 in Stratford, Ontario.