For the seventh time in the history of the World Junior Curling Championships, Canadian teams are bringing home both gold medals.
Photo credit: World Curling Federation/Richard Gray/ Click for larger version.
Tyler Tardi’s men’s team from Langley, B.C., and the Halifax women’s team skipped by Kaitlyn Jones captured the world junior titles on Saturday at Curl Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland, giving Canada its first sweep since Braden Calvert and Kelsey Rocque pulled it off in 2015 at Tallinn, Estonia.
Tardi, backed up by vice-skip Sterling Middleton, second Jordan Tardi (Tyler’s brother), lead Zachary Curtis, alternate Jacques Gauthier and coach Paul Tardi (Tyler and Jordan’s dad) faced a tough Scottish team helmed by Ross Whyte that was undefeated going into the gold-medal game, with a pro-Scottish crowd packing the stands.
And while the Tardi team — 7-2 in the round robin — was able to jump into a 5-2 lead through seven ends, Scotland clawed back to tie it 5-5 with a stolen single in the 10th when Tardi was heavy on his draw to the four-foot for the victory.
In the 11th, though, Tyler Tardi made a runback double takeout with his first delivery of the end, and then made a perfect draw to a Scottish stone at the back of the four-foot for the victory.
“I don’t know, I’ve been dreaming about this moment,” said Tardi, who returned to the world championship this year after not making the playoffs in 2017. “To finally have it come true is unbelievable. I can’t believe I’m standing here.”
A score of three points in the third end was important, he said, but they still didn’t feel his team had control over the Scottish foursome.
“They’re all great shooters on that team. Hats off to them,” he said. “They made a really big comeback, so good on them. They made a lot of shots and made us really work for it.”
Sharing this victory with Middleton, brother Jordan, Curtis and Gauthier (his cousin) was a special moment for him, he said.
“They’ve been working so hard all season. There’s no better four guys to do this with,” he said. “I’m just over the moon right now.”
In the men’s bronze medal game, Switzerland’s Jan Hess defeated Andrew Stopera of the U.S. 7-4.
Earlier in the day, Jones, vice-skip Kristin Clarke, second Karlee Burgess, lead Lindsey Burgess, alternate Lauren Lenentine and coach Andrew Atherton nailed down gold with a 7-4 win over defending champion Isabella Wranå of Sweden.
Team Canada put on a show in the final, making shot after shot with pinpoint accuracy and giving the Swedes few opportunities to get any offence going.
The turning point was a score of three in the fifth end that gave Canada a 5-2 lead at the break. The teams traded singles in the next two ends, but Jones stole a point in the eighth to take a 7-3 lead. After that, it was an exercise in keeping the house clean.
“It’s indescribable, I feel amazing right now,” said an elated Jones after the game. “I know I put everything out there on the line today and came out on top, and that’s an incredible feeling.”
“It (was our) goal to force them to one, and we got the end-goal that we wanted,” she said about the team’s winning strategy during the final. “Whenever they had the hammer we wanted to keep them close to one.”
“I’m super proud of my team,” she added. “We’ve worked so hard to get here, and for me moving all the way across Canada to play with them, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
For Clarke and Karlee Burgess, this marks a return to the podium. Both were on the 2016 world championship team, skipped by Mary Fay. Jones joined the team this season after moving to Nova Scotia from Saskatchewan, where she was the 2017 provincial champion.
China’s Zixin Wang won the bronze medal with an 11-5 win over Norway’s Maia Ramsfjell.
Helen Radford and Melissa Soligo served as Team Leaders for the Canadian entries, who won gold at the 2018 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships in January in Shawinigan, Que.
It was Canada’s 19th world junior men’s title, and 12th world junior women’s title — both are tops in that category.
Previous Canadian tandem champs were in 2003 (Marliese Kasner [Miller], Steve Laycock), 2001 (Suzanne Gaudet, Brad Gushue), 1998 (Melissa Adams [McClure], John Morris), 1994 (Kim Gellard, Colin Davison) and 1988 (Julie Skinner [Sutton], Jim Sullivan).
The 2019 World Junior Curling Championships will take place Feb. 17-24 in Liverpool, N.S.