N. Ontario rink off to slow start

Joey Payeur

If Mike Badiuk doesn’t want to fall short on his bold predictions, he and his curling mates need to start rocking the house in a big hurry.
The Devlin resident is playing third for skip Cody Johnston’s rink at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors curling championships, which kicked off Saturday in Calgary.
But after proclaiming his quartet one of the favourites before the event, Badiuk and his Northern Ontario crew had a hard time getting out of the hack.
Heading into play today, they were buried in 11th place with a 1-3 record.
The event got off on a sour note for the Fort William Curling Club-based rink as they were blasted 11-4 in eight ends by Colin Hodgson of host Alberta.
Johnston had even less offensive success in his second game, losing 6-2 to current standings leader Braeden Moskowy of Saskatchewan (5-0).
Good fortune finally shone through in Draw 3 yesterday as Johnston upended Manitoba’s Sam Good 8-5.
The win was keyed by some proficient thievery on Johnston’s part, as he broke open a 4-4 tie with steals in the fifth, sixth, and seventh ends to pull away.
But the positive feelings didn’t last as B.C.’s Jonathan Gardner notched a quick three in the first and then two more in the fourth en route to an eventual 7-5 win over Johnston.
Northern Ontario almost has to run the table to have any chance of finishing in the top three by the end of the week and qualify for the playoffs.
That task starts today against the two weakest teams in the field.
Johnston faced Spencer Pitre of P.E.I. (1-4) this afternoon (the outcome wasn’t known as of press time), then will clash with Colin Miller of the Northwest Territories (0-4) tonight.