DAUPHIN -- Brandon’s Rob Fowler is the 2012 Manitoba men’s curling champion.
Fowler -- with third Allan Lyburn, second Richard Daneault and lead Derek Samagalski -- defeated Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen 10-6 here in the final Sunday afternoon of the Safeway Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship.
The Fowler foursome will now represent Manitoba at the Brier in Saskatoon, Mar. 3-11.
"It’s going to be awesome. The Brier is by far the best event," said Fowler. "We’re looking forward to going to Saskatoon."
Under extreme pressure from McEwen early in the game and already down 2-0, Fowler bailed his team out of big trouble in the second end to escape with a single and keep the game close and then forced some critical mistakes out of his opponent the next two ends, getting a steal of one in the third end and two more in the fourth end to turn the tide and take a 4-2 lead.
McEwen tied the game 6-6 in the eighth end, but Fowler cracked a deuce in the ninth end and then played a masterful 10th end that effectively left McEwen no shot when he went to throw his last one, a circus triple takeout attempt for two.
The effort wasn’t even close and Fowler raised his arms in triumph.
It is the first Manitoba men’s curling championship for a Brandon based team since 1987 when Fowler’s father, Brian Fowler, skipped the Manitoba men’s champion.
It is the fourth Manitoba men’s title for Fowler, who competed as second for Jeff Stoughton in Briers in 2007, 2009 and 2010. It is also the second Manitoba men’s title for Daneault, who played second for Kerry Burtnyk at the 2008 Brier in Winnipeg. It will be the first Brier appearance for Lyburn and Samagalski.
The loss marked the third straight Manitoba men’s final that McEwen has lost. He lost previous finals in 2010 and 2011 to Stoughton.
"Life sucks sometimes," said McEwen. "It’s not fair. There’s no one who works harder than us. But it didn’t work out. And all the credit to them. They played better than we did today."