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Manitoba's Braden Calvert wins 2015 Canadian junior curling championship

02/01/2015 10:51 EST | Updated 04/03/2015 05:59 EDT
CORNER BROOK, N.L. - His tournament didn't start the way he wanted it to, but Winnipeg's Braden Calvert made up for early disappointment the rest of the way.

The defending champion and his rink from Manitoba scored a deuce in the 10th end on Sunday to defeat Saskatchewan's Jacob Hersikorn 8-6 in the 2015 Canadian junior curling championships finals.

After falling in his opening draw to Quebec's Felix Asselin in preliminary-round action, Calvert and his rink of third Kyle Kurz, second Lucas van den Bosch and lead Brendan Wilson, put together a 10-draw win streak to finish the competition with the gold medal.

"I'm in a little bit of shock right now," said Calvert. "We're just overwhelmed and super-excited about winning the national championship, and I'm sure it'll sink in a little bit more tomorrow."

Manitoba never trailed, taking single points in the first two ends, one more in the third and a beautiful chap-and-lie deuce in the sixth to go up 5-2.

"It wasn't an easy shot, and definitely wasn't easy to look at from the hack," said Kurz of the sixth-end shot. "You couldn't see the inside of it, and if it's heavy at all, it's hanging outside and we're not getting our deuce. But I had full confidence in him making that shot— he makes those left, right and centre."

Saskatchewan would bounce back with deuces in the seventh and ninth ends, sandwiched around a Manitoba single to tie the game.

In the 10th, though, Hersikorn's last-rock draw attempt came up short and Calvert didn't need to throw his final stone.

"I think being here once and doing it once definitely helped us focus on what we had to do and helped us handle the nerves a bit better," said Calvert. "I thought we were a lot more comfortable this year."

Calvert defeated Alberta's Karsten Sturmay 7-3 on Friday to lock up a berth in the gold-medal game.

Earlier today, Hersikorn threw a double-takeout with the last rock of the game in an 8-6 win over New Brunswick in the semifinals.

The clutch shot put Saskatchewan in the final against Manitoba.

"(Hersikorn's) made a lot of shots when we got in trouble. He clutched up and made those draws, hits, triples and doubles, just to make everything possible to get us where we are," said Saskatchewan third Cole Tenetuik.

Sunday's win marked Manitoba's third straight Canadian juniors men's gold medal, after Calvert's victory last year and Matt Dunstone's win in 2013.

Calvert and his rink will represent Canada at the upcoming world junior curling championships beginning Feb. 28 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Kyle Kurz's name.

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