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Wednesday, 09 February 2011 20:41

Moskowy rink held on by a thread to clinch record 13-0 finish

It was a victorious weekend for the Saskatchewan men's junior curling team. In the end, it was a victory only narrowly achieved.

The 2011 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors concluded on Sunday, Feb. 6, and team Saskatchewan went undefeated. Thirteen games in a row made it a tournament sweep for the team led by Braeden Moskowy.

Feb_Sports_Faulkner_MensJuniorFinal_2Skip Braeden Moskowy of the Callie Curling Club out of Regina, finished with a perfect 13-0 record at the 2011 Juniors.
Photoe: Ashton Faulkner/Calgary Journal

They faced off against Matt Camm’s Ontario team in the final. Although Moskowy did walk away with the gold medal, it was a narrow snag for the 20-year-old skip.

Moskowy scored the winning point after having to make a hack-weight tap on two opposing stones which were sitting near the centre of the button. There was very little room for error and his final shot came so close to the other stones he had to wait for a measurement to find out if he'd won.

Once it was determined, team Saskatchewan and their fans erupted into a celebration not only of their luck, but also of achieving something rarely seen in the tournament - a perfect record.

“It feels great,” said Moskowy. “It's something that I’m extremely proud of.

“There are barely any teams that have done it, and there are so many good teams here every single year. It’s such a grind…it’s pretty amazing.”

Moskowy’s rink is only the fifth men’s team in the history of the juniors to go unbeaten. The last time was in 1986, led by Manitoba’s Hugh McFadyen.

“It would’ve been such a disappointment to have gone through the whole round robin and then lost in the final,” said coach Dwayne Mihalicz. “But the boys played well and kept their heads in it, and became Canadian champions.”

The tension at the North Hill Curling Club during the final game could have rivalled that of any Briar atmosphere. Fans, usually chatting or celebrating shots made, instead were sitting quietly as spectators.

It was a long game, with team Ontario nearly running out of time in the extra end. Most ends had many rocks in play, calling for difficult shots for both teams.

“At times we played better, and at times they played better,” said Mihalicz. “There were a few missed opportunities, but other than that it was a pretty good game.

“It was a final that could have gone either way.”

Braeden's mother, Wenda Moskowy, was one of the many who waited with bated breath at the decision on the last rock. With the winning decision, she celebrated as any proud parent would.

“It's unbelievable; I don't think it's really sunk in yet,” she said. “I'm very proud - it's something he's always dreamed of.”

With the Canadian title now under their belts, team Saskatchewan will wear the maple leaf as team Canada as they head to the Perth, Scotland, for the World Junior Championships in March.

“It's the heartland of curling,” said Mihalicz. “We're all really looking forward to being able to go, it's going to be a great trip.”