Fay clinches junior curling title for Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's Mary Fay. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

STRATFORD, Ont. — Matt Dunstone started the streak in 2013. He returned in 2016 to extend it.

Dunstone and his team from Winnipeg claimed Manitoba’s fourth consecutive men’s gold medal at the 2016 Canadian junior curling championships on Sunday by beating Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan 11-4 in the final.

Dunstone won gold in 2013 and watched from home as fellow Manitoban Braden Calvert prevailed in 2014 and 2015.

Sunday’s victory was just as sweet for the 20-year-old as the first one.

"It’s just as satisfying, for sure," said Dunstone, whose team is rounded out by third Colton Lott, second (and vice-skip) Kyle Doering, lead Rob Gordon and coach Calvin Edie.

"It doesn’t change, this is awesome. I’m so proud of these guys. They worked so hard for this, and we couldn’t be happier, obviously."

Sunday’s gold was nailed down early.

Horgan and Northern Ontario — including third (and younger brother) Jake Horgan, second Nick Bissonnette, lead Maxime Blais and coach (the Horgans’ dad) Gerry Horgan — opened the game with a first-end deuce.

But Dunstone made two pistols in the second — the first, a precision long runback takeout to sit two, and when Tanner Horgan missed his final shot, Dunstone coolly drew to bite the button for a go-ahead three.

"Those were such a great pair of shots," said Lott.

Manitoba would add a stolen three in the third on another Horgan miss, and then made an in-off takeout in the sixth for a third three-ender.

"I don’t think they missed. They’re an amazing team, how are they a junior team? They’ll do just fantastic at the worlds," said the 17-year-old Horgan.

"I think there’s lots of room for growth with our team. We’re so young, we have so many more years ahead and I’m excited to see what we can do in a few years."

Dunstone’s team will head to Denmark for the 2016 world juniors in March — looking to make it back-to-back gold medals for Canada after Calvert’s victory last year in Estonia, and to improve on the bronze medal Dunstone and Lott won in 2013.

"Going back three years ago, we felt robbed, for sure," said Dunstone. "We have gold on our minds, and if we keep playing like we did in this playoff round, we should be right there."

Manitoba’s four straight wins matches the Saskatchewan record of four in a row, set between 1949 and 1952. It was the province’s 12th Canadian junior men’s crown.

"We have such a strong junior program from head to toe," said Dunstone.

Also, Mary Fay’s clutch eighth-end draw clinched the women’s title for Nova Scotia at the Canadian junior championships.

Fay’s shot broke open a 5-5 tie as Nova Scotia, rounded out by third Kristin Clarke, lead Janique LeBlanc and second Karlee Burgess, went on to a 9-5 win over British Columbia’s Sarah Daniels in Sunday’s final.

"It felt great to make that draw," said Fay. "Whenever I’m throwing a draw, I always feel confident because I have Karlee and Janique sweeping for me. They have the hard job; it’s not to too hard to throw it, but to judge the weight? But I have two amazing sweepers and I’m confident in them."

The foursome from Chester stole two in the ninth to seal the victory after B.C. came back to tie the game with back-to-back steals in the sixth and seventh ends.

Nova Scotia ran B.C. out of rocks in the 10th.

"Holy. I don’t even know how to explain it," Burgess said. "Going into the last end, we knew we just had to throw clean shots and Mary would have an open shot at the end."

The women’s world juniors will also be in Denmark in March.

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