Stacie Devereaux Wins Canadian Junior Women’s Championship
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Source: Canadian Curling Association
ST. CATHARINES, February 11…Newfoundland and Labrador, skipped by Stacie Devereaux of St. John’s, pulled out a dramatic 7-6 win over Manitoba, Sunday at the St. Catharines Golf & Country Club, to win its first ever M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior women’s championship.
Down 6-4 in the 10th end, Devereaux was able to draw the rings with her last stone, under vigorous sweeping, to count three after Manitoba skip Calleen Neufeld, staring at two opponent counters, tried a freeze, but hit and rolled to the outside with her last rock.
“I knew the sweepers would get it there for me,” said the 20-year-old Devereaux. “You can’t think about that (how much was on the line). If that enters your mind, you go a little crazy. It was just a draw for the win. That’s all it was. We were looking to get two in 10 (end) and play for the extra. But she (Neufeld) was a little heavy and rubbed open, so I said, let’s draw.”
“It was a little light, but that’s kind of my tendency, to be a little light. The girls jumped it and they got it there for me. It looked good.”
It was the first win for the province since the Canadian junior women’s championship began in 1971. The closest Newfoundland had come in recent years was in 2002 in Summerside, when, skipped by Jennifer Guzzwell, it finished second to Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Gaudet, 6-4. Today, Guzzwell’s sister, Stephanie, was a member of the winning team, as Devereaux’s third.
It was the fourth trip to the national championship for Devereaux and third consecutive appearance for the team, which finished with a 5-6 mark last year in Thunder Bay.
The victory capped a remarkable week for Newfoundland and Labrador. After dropping its opener, 9-3 to Prince Edward Island, it proceeded to win its next 12 games, including today’s final, finishing with an impressive 12-1 mark.
“We had really close games and we really believed in each other,” continued Devereaux. “ We believed we could do it. The 10th end came along and we managed to make all of our shots and got a couple of breaks along the way.
“(At the start of the week) We were looking for a playoff berth and we just got on a roll and kept on going. We said, let’s finish first and when we got in the final, we said that’s not good enough, let’s win the final.”
It’s certainly ironic that the junior women would win the province’s first title in St. Catharines. Six years ago, here at the same venue in 2001, Newfoundland skip Brad Gushue won the first junior men’s title for his province, also defeating Manitoba in the final.
Today’s final started off as a conservative affair, as the teams were tied at 2 through the first five ends.
After a blanked sixth end, Newfoundland and Labrador gained the upper hand, 4-2, by stealing a deuce in the seventh when Neufeld, who also was the runner-up in last year’s final, was heavy with her final draw.
But the Manitobans rebounded with three in the eighth end, after a measure, to gain a 5-4 lead, then stole one in the ninth when Devereaux missed a double.
That set the stage for the 10th end dramatics.
“That’s probably the worst part, just waiting and hoping that they’ll miss,” said Neufeld. “But that’s all you can do at that point. We didn’t play badly in the final. It hurts, but I’m not crying. We played pretty crappy last year in the final (when they lost 10-6 to Saskatchewan). It was an up and down week. We started off really good (5-0), then a couple of losses. But then we pulled it together, made the playoffs. But that’s all it really comes down to…one game.”
Devereaux and her St. John’s Curling Club team of third Stephanie Guzzwell, second Sarah Paul and lead Julie Devereaux will now represent Canada at the 2007 world junior curling championships, which take place March 3-11 in Eveleth, Minnesota. Canada has won a leading eight world junior women’s crowns since 1988.
They’ll join Charley Thomas and his Calgary Curling Club team, which won Saturday’s M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior men’s final. Canada has won a leading 15 world junior men’s titles since 1975.
Thomas will try to join Ontario’s John Morris as the only two-time consecutive Canadian and world junior champion. Morris accomplished the feat in 1998-99.
SOURCE: Canadian Curling Association