FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - Matt Dunstone's Manitoba rink won the men's title at the Canadian junior curling championship on Saturday night with a 4-3 victory over Alberta's Thomas Scoffin.
Tied in the 10th end, Alberta got a break when a Manitoba peel attempt on Dunstone’s first delivery nudged one of Alberta stones in the house to bite the button, corner-frozen to a Manitoba rock.
Scoffin froze to his own frozen rock, and Dunstone played a peel-weight double takeout for the win.
It's Manitoba’s first gold medal since 2002, when Winnipeg’s David Hamblin claimed the Canadian title at Summerside, P.E.I., and the seventh Canadian junior men’s title won by a Manitoba team.
Dunstone, 17, was backed up by third Colton Lott, second Daniel Grant, lead Brendan MacCuish, while Scoffin teamed with lead Bryce Bucholz, second Landon Bucholz and third Dylan Gousseau.
Dunstone reached the final after a pair of must-win games Friday — over Saskatchewan’s Brady Scharback in the last game of the round robin and against Ontario’s Aaron Squires in a third-place tiebreaker — before winning 9-4 over Nova Scotia’s Stuart Thompson in the semifinal earlier Saturday.
The loss ended a bid for back-to-back gold medals for Alberta at the tournament.
The Manitobans will represent Canada at the world juniors, starting Feb. 28 in Sochi, Russia, which serves as a test event for the 2014 Winter Olympics curling competition.
The women’s Canadian junior curling playoffs are set for Sunday, as Manitoba’s Shannon Birchard takes on Ontario’s Jamie Sinclair in the semifinal. The winner meets B.C.’s Corryn Brown for the gold medal.
Notes: Dunstone’s grandparents, Jim and Carol, the 1980 Canadian mixed curling champions and recent inductees to the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame, were in attendance.