Play scheduled to begin at The Fox on Thursday night
SUMMERSIDE – The Veronica Smith and Tyler Smith rinks will be looking to earn back-to-back trips to the M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior curling championships.
© Curl P.E.I. Photo
Skips Veronica Smith and Tyler Smith call shots during last year’s Pepsi P.E.I. junior curling championships for curlers under the age of 21.
The defending P.E.I. champions are among the 15 teams entered in the Pepsi P.E.I. junior curling championships for curlers under the age of 21 at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club in Summerside. The winning rinks will wear the P.E.I. colours at the junior nationals in Liverpool, N.S., from Jan. 18 to 26.
“We’re really excited and worked hard this year,” said Veronica Smith in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer on Wednesday. “We hope to go back in and defend our title obviously.
“We are really excited it’s in Summerside. They have a great facility and venue.”
Play is scheduled to start on Thursday at 7 p.m., and providing there are no schedule disruptions caused by the weather, the championship games will go on Monday at 7 p.m.
The junior men will play a triple-knockout format that will determine the four teams for the Page championship round. Meanwhile, the junior women will play a single round robin, with the top three teams moving on to the championship round.
“As a team our expectations are top three,” said Tyler Smith. “If we can get to the semifinal that would be great. If we can get to the final game you never know.
“We didn’t expect to win it last year, but we got to the final game.”
Smith, who won last year’s provincial title with Alex Sutherland, Alex Jenkins and Jonathan Schut, comes into this year’s provincials with three new team members – third stone Brooks Roche, second stone Dylan Lowery and lead Ryan Lowery.
Smith said the new foursome, coached by Tammy Dewar and Kevin Smith and based out of the Montague Curling Club, has enjoyed a “good” season so far.
“We have had a lot of good games and placed really well in the tournaments we have played in,” he said on Wednesday. “We won the Codiac tournament in October, and have had a couple of third-place finishes.”
With a lot of junior games eight ends, Smith said adjusting to the 10-end games in the provincials is one of the biggest adjustments teams have to make.
“We need to be conservative at the start, not be too aggressive and get behind too early,” said Smith. “Just play the first half conservative and keep the game close.”
The Veronica Smith team members, also consisting of third stone Chloe McCloskey, second stone Sabrina Smith and lead Katie Fullerton, are not lacking experience.
“This is our 10th season with the same four girls,” said the skip. “It’s kind of like a family team. “My sister (Sabrina) is on the team, my first cousin (McCloskey) and we have Katie Fullerton and we call her the adopted cousin.”
The Smith rink curls out of the Cornwall Curling Club, and participated in a “superspiel” in Ottawa earlier this season. They certainly know what to expect going into their fourth provincial junior championship
“There is a lot of strategy,” explained Smith. “When you play a bunch of different games you play different scenarios and you learn how to handle them in a different way.
“We are confident in ourselves after winning it once. We want to go in level-headed, play our game and do the best we can.”
Teams entered in P.E.I.
junior curling championships:
Justin Campbell, Silver Fox
Donald DeWolfe, Cornwall
Kyle Holland, Charlottetown
Alex MacFadyen, Silver Fox
Matthew MacLean, Cornwall/Silver Fox
Leslie Noye, Western
Devin Schut, Cornwall
Tyler Smith, Montague
Meghan Ching, Cornwall
Emily Keen, Cornwall
Kaleigh MacKay, Crapaud
Amanda MacLean, Cornwall
Jenny McLean, Silver Fox
Lauren Moerike, Charlottetown
Veronica Smith, Cornwall
On the web: www.peicurling.com/juniors