Ontarios Homan,Walker wins Canadian junior curling titles

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SOREL-TRACY, Que. - Jake Walker scratched out a dramatic victory after Rachel Homan capped an undefeated run with a convincing win, and Ontario swept the men's and women's titles Sunday at the Canadian junior curling championship.
Ottawa's Homan won the women's title by beating Dailene Sivertson's B.C. rink 9-5. Later Sunday, Kitchener's Walker scored two in the 10th end in an 8-7 win over Manitoba's Alex Forrest.
It is the first Canadian junior title for both skips, who will represent Canada at the world junior curling championships in Flims, Switzerland, March 6-14.
"We so excited (about going to Flims). We're going to prepare these next few months and try to bring back gold for Canada," Homan said.
It's the first time since 2003 that a province has won a Canadian junior men's and women's titles in the same year. That year, Saskatchewan's Marliese Miller and Steve Laycock won both in Ottawa.
It looked like the men's final was headed to an extra end when Forrest attempted a takeout of an Ontario counter with three Manitoba stones in the house, which would have left Walker a draw for one. Forrest missed and, Walker drew the eight-foot ring for the dramatic win.
"In the 10th end, (third Craig Van Ymeren) said it doesn't make any difference about the first six rocks, just the skip's deuce," said Walker. "I was surprised (Forrest) missed it but I would have played the same shot."
Forrest said he was confident with his shot leading up to the miss.
"We were happy with how we were set up," the Winnipeg native said. "It was looking good till my last one when I could have drawn or could have hit. I could see about half of it. I thought I had it but it just ran pretty straight, although it was tight to the guard."
Walker's team had finished the round robin in second place with a 9-3 record, one game behind 10-2 Manitoba. Saturday night, Walker won the semi-final over Saskatchewan, 8-5 to advance to a rematch with Manitoba, after losing the round robin encounter, 5-4.
The game opened with Ontario stealing one in the first but Manitoba evened the score in the second.
In the third, Walker calmly drew the four-foot while looking at four Manitoba stones. But in the fourth, Forrest made a double for three as Manitoba went up 4-2.
However, Ontario came right back with a pair in the fifth to tie the match at four.
Ontario climbed back in front with another steal in the sixth, when Forrest was unable to remove all three Ontario stones with a takeout. Manitoba tied the score in the seventh when Forrest successfully drew against two Ontario stones.
Walker tried to blank the eighth but hit and stayed for one. Forrest then came up with a pair in the ninth for a 6-5, heading to the 10th.
The women's final turned in the sixth end with Homan up 4-3, but with British Columbia having hammer.
Homan made a terrific runback with her last stone, which chipped out a B.C. stone in the four-foot to lay three. Sivertson then missed an angle tap on her guard, leaving Ontario with a steal of three and a 7-3 lead.
"We could have drawn but we kind of like the risk and reward," said the 20-year-old Homan, about the crucial sixth end. "Maybe get a steal of one or hit it exactly right and steal three. It was a tough shot for her for one and it was a little heavy. But they played really well the whole game. We had to throw runbacks to even get points."
Homan's team is just the fourth since 1971 to win the Canadian junior women's title with a flawless 13-0 record. The last women's team to go unbeaten was Manitoba, skipped by Cathy Overton in 1989.
"We were playing so much better this year, clicking as a team, everything was working," Homan said. "Even after we clinched a spot in the finals, we wanted to go undefeated. The last couple of days we got a feel for the ice. We wanted to play well. We had a practice yesterday and this morning. The ice was great."

It's also the third Canadian junior women's title for Ontario, following skips Kim Gellard in 1993 in Trois-Rivieres, Que., and Alison Goring in 1983 in Calgary.

Canada has won a leading 16 men's and eight women's world junior titles.

Geographic location: Ontario, Manitoba, Canada Ottawa Flims Saskatchewan Kitchener Switzerland Winnipeg British Columbia Trois-Rivieres Calgary

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