It was an all B.C. affair in the lone tie-breaker of the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships on Wednesday in Langley.
Forced to play-off for the final berth to the championship round, B.C. junior champion Hayato Sato’s Royal City rink put together a clutch performance and defeated Richmond’s Johnson Tao rink 7-3 to advance to the next stage.
The Sato rink, which includes third Matthew McCrady, second Joshua Miki and lead Jacob Umbach, carved out an early lead and maintained a steady pace to prevail in seven ends.
“It feels really good to win that one. We struggled hard in the last three games of the round robin so being able to come out and play hard this morning was crucial,” said McCrady.
While the scoreboard may show a lopsided 7-3 win for Sato’s rink, with Tao conceding after seven ends of play, McCrady says the game remained close for its entire duration.
“It felt like we were out-playing them early but as the game progressed, they got significantly better.” said McCrady. “When they made shots, it forced us to make some even better ones.”
The tiebreaker was necessary after Alberta and B.C.’s two teams (being the host province) finished the round robin with identical 3-3 records in Pool A.
Alberta would garner the first berth, having the best shootout score – while the two B.C. squads were left to contest for the fourth and final position to the championship round.
Team qualifying for the Championship Round will carry their current win-loss record in to play as they vie for the playoffs.
The championship round concludes Sunday with the final, with the Canadian champion advancing to compete at the World junior tournament in Russia.