SALMON ARM, BC, February 8 (CCA)- Prince Edward Island, skipped by Charlottetown’s Brett Gallant, edged Northern Ontario’s Dylan Johnston rink by a 7-6 score in the Sunday final of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s Curling Championships.
“Finally,” said the elated 18-year-old Gallant, a Business student at the University of Prince Edward Island, of his first win in his fifth trip to the Canadian championship. “We played a great game. We were very prepared for this game. After we gave up the three in the first, it was really unlucky, a picked rock and a jam. But then we had some good ends after that. The team played awesome. Dylan’s team played very well, too. I was just glad we got a few chances. We just had to keep the pressure on them. We played very well.”
Brett Gallant, Adam Casey, Anson Carmody, Jamie Danbrook
Michael Burns Photography, courtesy Canadian Curling Association
Gallant was runner-up at the 2007 Canadian Juniors in St. Catharines, losing in an extra end to Alberta’s Charley Thomas, and the third place finisher last year.
In a game which featured a myriad of good shots, it all came down to the 10th end, when Gallant, already having one with hammer but needing a pair, drew to the full-eight for the win, after Northern Ontario skip Dylan Johnston of Thunder Bay came up a tad light with a draw. However, he was still second shot with another in the eight-foot, forcing Gallant to draw.
The game didn’t start off in the Islanders favour, though, after Northern Ontario jumped into a 3-0 lead in the first end. However, by the sixth end, the game was knotted at 5. After a blanked seventh, Johnston was forced to one in the eighth. Gallant then blanked the ninth before the 10th end dramatics which culminated with the winning deuce.
Other members of the Gallant squad are Adam Casey, Anson Carmody and Jamie Danbrook, with coach Peter Gallant, who is Brett’s father.
Northern Ontario defeated Prince Edward Island, 9-8 in an extra end during the round robin, as Johnston stole four singles during the game, including the winner. after Prince Edward Island, ironically, got off to a 3-0 start. Both teams finished the round robin with 9-3 marks, with Northern Ontario accorded first place and a bye to the final for its round robin win.
Prince Edward Island has one previous junior men’s title, by Bill Jenkins in 1976 in Kapuskasing. Northern Ontario has four crowns, the last by Jeff Currie in 1996 in Edmonton. The Gallant rink will now represent Canada at the World Juniors, March 5-15 in Vancouver, seeking a leading ninth title since 1988.