SPORTS

Roque looking for back-to-back junior championships after defeating Nova Scotia

01/29/2015 09:32 EST | Updated 03/31/2015 05:59 EDT
CORNER BROOK, N.L. - Kelsey Rocque finds herself on the verge of joining elite company at the Canadian junior curling championships.

The 20-year-old Edmonton native has claimed a spot in the women's gold-medal game after Alberta defeated Nova Scotia's Mary Fay 8-3 on Thursday.

Rocque is looking to become just the fourth skip in the event's history to win back-to-back women's titles.

"It's pretty crazy right now, it hasn't really set in," said Rocque, whose Edmonton team of third Danielle Schmiemann, second Holly Jamieson and lead Jessica Ilesran ran its record to 9-0. "But I couldn't ask to be in a better place. We're super happy right now."

Alberta will close out round-robin play on Friday morning against New Brunswick's Justine Comeau (5-4) before starting preparations for Saturday's gold-medal match.

Rocque hopes to join Cathy King (1977, 1978), Suzanne Birt (2001, 2002) and Kaitlyn Lawes (2008, 2009) as back-to-back champions.

In other women's action, Saskatchewan's Kristen Streifel (5-4) hit for three in the 10th end for a 8-7 win over Quebec's Emilia Gagne (4-5) while New Brunswick took an extra end to beat Ontario's Chelsea Brandwood (6-3) 9-7.

Meanwhile, the defending men's champion, Braden Calvert of Manitoba, took another step toward a title defence with a 5-4 victory over Northern Ontario's Tanner Horgan (4-5).

Manitoba improved to 8-1 with the win and can clinch a berth in Sunday's men's gold-medal game with a win Friday against Alberta's Karsten Sturmay (7-2).

"Its nice to go out there tomorrow knowing that we can control our destiny," said Calvert. "We'll be fired up to play Alberta, for sure. I think we're a lot more calm this year going into our final (round-robin) game. Last year I think we were more nervous. We're a lot more calm in this environment this year."

In the other men's championship round competition, 2014 silver-medallist Rene Comeau of New Brunswick improved to 8-2 and is guaranteed of a tiebreaker berth with a 7-5 triumph over B.C.'s Paul Henderson (5-5).

In men's seeding round play to determine the pool rankings for the 2016 Canadian juniors, P.E.I.'s Tyler Smith (4-4) beat Newfoundland/Labrador's Greg Smith (3-6) 10-5.

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