Asselin beats shoulder injury to top New Brunswick

Nunavut won its debut at the Canadian women's curling championship Thursday. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

STRATFORD, Ont. — Quebec skip Felix Asselin fought through a dislocated right shoulder and led his team to a stunning 10-9 comeback win over New Brunswick, followed by a 5-3 victory over B.C. on Thursday at the Canadian junior curling championships.

The 21-year-old dislocated his throwing shoulder playing table tennis Wednesday night at the players’ hotel and spent three hours in hospital overnight getting it treated.

A few hours before a crucial championship-round game against New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud, Asselin showed up for a physio treatment and threw a few rocks to see if he could play.

He decided to push on, though it didn’t seem like a good decision at first. Asselin missed his last shot in the first and second ends, and New Brunswick put five on the board in the third end to go up 6-1.

But Asselin capped a huge comeback by drawing for three in the 10th end to stay alive in the hunt for playoff berth.

"Sure, we had some excuses. But that would be easy," said Quebec coach and Asselin’s father, Benoit Forget. "But there’s an old saying that losers find reasons. Winners find ways. That’s what we did."

Quebec improved to 6-3 with the win over B.C.’s Tyler Tardi (7-2) in the night draw, and can force a third-place tiebreaker against B.C. with a win over Northern Ontario and a B.C. loss to Manitoba.

"We’re still here. We’re still fighting for our lives," said Asselin after his first win of the day. "We need to win games, obviously four losses won’t make it."

In the other evening games, Tanner Horgan’s Northern Ontario team took an extra end to top previously unbeaten 2013 Canadian champ Matt Dunstone of Manitoba 7-5.

The win left Horgan’s team tied with Manitoba at 8-1. Both teams are assured of semifinal berths, but Northern Ontario can clinch first, and a bye to Sunday’s gold-medal game with a win Friday morning against Quebec. Manitoba would get the bye to the final with a win over B.C. and a Northern Ontario loss.

"That was a lot of fun to play," said Horgan. "It was at such a high level. Both teams played really well."

Alberta’s Karsten Sturmay (5-4) downed New Brunswick’s Alex Robichaud (4-5) 6-4, and Saskatchewan’s Jake Hersikorn (5-4) beat Ontario’s Doug Kee (4-5) 5-1.

New Brunswick dropped to 4-4 with their loss to Quebec. The top three teams will make the playoffs, with the first-place team going directly to Sunday’s gold-medal game. The semifinals are Saturday.

In the women’s championship round, B.C.’s Sarah Daniels and Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay clinched semifinal berths with wins on Thursday night to improve to 8-1.

B.C. needed an extra end to beat Manitoba’s Abby Ackland (7-2) 8-5.

"Today was a very stressful game. Manitoba played very well, but I think we were able to keep up," said Daniels, who won bronze at the 2014 Canadian Juniors in Liverpool, N.S. "Now, we’ll just keep moving forward and doing what we’re doing. We’re sticking together — miss, make, we’re always about team."

Nova Scotia, meanwhile, took four in the seventh end en route to an 11-4 win over New Brunswick’s Justine Comeau (6-3).

B.C. would clinch first and a berth in Sunday’s gold-medal game with a win Friday morning against New Brunswick, while Nova Scotia needs a win over Manitoba and a B.C. loss to advance to the women’s final.

Manitoba can advance to Saturday’s semifinal with a win, but a Manitoba loss and wins by New Brunswick or Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges (6-3) would force tiebreakers.

Quebec kept its hopes alive with an 8-5 win over Saskatchewan’s Kourtney Fesser (4-5). In the other women’s championship round game, Alberta’s Selena Sturmay (5-4) beat Ontario’s Courtney Auld (4-5) 9-2.

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