Vernon third Kaila Buchy, left, and second Katelyn McGillivray sweep in the provincial U18 playdowns in Salmon Arm (Black Press File)

Cotter qualifies for playoffs

Canadian U18s in New Brunswick

Jaelyn Cotter of Vernon has qualified for Friday’s playoff round at the Canadian Under-18 Girls Curling Championships in Saint Andrews, N.B.

Cotter, the daughter of seven-time Tim Hortons Brier participant Jim Cotter, who is coaching the team, brushed back the Northwest Territories (Zoey Walsh, Hay River) 7-2 Thursday afternoon to finish pool play at 3-3. Cotter earlier Thursday lost 5-2 to New Brunswick (Erica Cluff, Woodstock).

“We really needed that win,” Jaelyn told The Morning Star. “We played lights out. We played one of our best games. Our stats are good, just where we want them to be.”

Cotter has Kaila Buchy at third, Katelyn McGillivray at second and Cassidy Schwaerzle at lead.

The playoff draw was announced later Thursday night with games starting today at 9 a.m. The top four teams from each seven-team pool advanced to the playoffs. That will determine four teams for the Olympic-style semifinals Saturday morning. The semifinal winners will play for gold while the losers will play for bronze Saturday night.

“The playoffs are a double-knockout so everyone kind of restarts,” said Jaelyn, who noted the weather is very cold and windy. “My dad’s very excited about how we’re playing.”

The Cotter crew lost their opener 7-4 to Saskatchewan (Skylar Ackerman, Moose Jaw) and then fell 5-2 to Ontario (Madelyn Listowel).

They rebounded by stopping PEI (Lauren Ferguson, Cornwall) 5-3 and icing the Yukon (Bayly Scoffin, Whitehorse) 11-3.

The event, for players ages 17 and under as of June 30, 2017, is being staged at the W.C. O’Neill Arena Complex, using both a hockey arena and the three-sheet Heather Curling Club, which is part of the complex.

At the inaugural Canadian Under-18 Championships last year in Moncton, Northern Ontario teams swept both gold medals (boys as well).

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