Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 02/1/2014 12:23 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 02/2/2014 12:31 AM | Updates
Defending champion Jeff Stoughton is one more win away from his 11th provincial men’s curling title and second seed Mike McEwen and fifth seed Willie Lyburn will go head to head in the semifinal Sunday morning at the MTS Iceplex to determine who gets the unenviable task of facing him in this afternoon’s provincial final.
Stoughton, a 10-time Manitoba men’s champion, advanced to today’s provincial final with a 9-5 victory over McEwen in Saturday night’s Page playoff 1 vs 1 game.
The loss to Stoughton relegated McEwen to this morning’s semifinal, where Lyburn will be lying in wait after a thrilling 9-8 victory over Steve Irwin’s unheralded Brandon foursome in Saturday night’s Page playoff 2 vs. 2 game.
Lyburn trailed Irwin 4-1 after just the second end last night but gamely battled back, cracking a four-ender in the eighth end, then drawing the four-foot with the final rock of the game to squeak out the narrowest of victories.
This will be Lyburn’s second appearance in a Manitoba men’s semifinal in three years. He played in the 2012 semifinal, losing to eventual champion Rob Fowler.
Lyburn said last night he has no doubt McEwen, widely regarded as skip of the best team in Canada never to win a provincial men’s title, will be favoured to win today’s semifinal and advance to face Stoughton.
And Lyburn’s sure of something else: "We expect to win — that’s what we do," he said. "We put a lot of work in and the guys are playing great."
His victory Saturday night overcame a red-hot Irwin foursome that had already won twice on Saturday just to advance to last night’s game, eliminating Randy Neufeld 8-7 in the morning draw and punting Fowler 8-3 in the afternoon.
But a skip who until Saturday was best known as a three-time Manitoba club curling champion simply could not close the deal against Lyburn when it mattered most Saturday night.
"To have control of that game and give up a big one in 8, it’s pretty tough," Irwin said.
"But it’s been a good week. We had one bad end."
Saturday night’s page playoffs were conspicuous by the absence of Fowler, who had a disastrous Saturday.
After going undefeated through his first four games, he was eliminated with back-to-back losses on Saturday, falling 9-4 to McEwen in the morning draw and losing to Irwin in the afternoon draw.
"We just had a real hard time capitalizing on our opportunities. It seemed like for the most part the other team had us under pressure. It was very rare we had the other team under pressure at all," Fowler said.
"Anytime it was setting up good for us, we always seemed to have a half shot or a miss.
"You just can’t afford to do that when you start lining up against the best teams in the province. If you make mistakes, they’re going to punish you, and that’s what happened today...
"It’s very disappointing. The guys worked hard, we trained in the summer and put in a lot of time and we definitely practised a lot. But at the end of the day, when you’re curling on Saturday in this, you have to execute and we didn’t do that.
"So we got what we deserved."
LOOSE HAIRS: The all-stars for the 2014 Safeway Championship, as chosen by the Manitoba Curling Media Association, were skip Steve Irwin, Stoughton third Jon Mead, McEwen second Matt Wozniak and Lyburn lead Tyler Forrest...The 2015 Safeway Championship will be held at Brandon’s Keystone Centre...Total attendance through 15 draws at the Iceplex was 4,594.
Updated on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 4:55 PM CST: Updates 2 vs. 2 matchup
12:31 AM: Updates with post-game story.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Sure things: Death, taxes and Pavelec in the pipes
No winner for $30 million 649 jackpot
Jolie delivers empowerment message at Kids' Choice Awards
Perreault ready to go
Canada wins opener at men's curling worlds
Future Shop stores closing, 1,500 jobs lost
Chaotic start to Copp's career
North Dakota tops St. Cloud State to reach Frozen Four
Survived: No. 1 Kentucky holds off Notre Dame 68-66
Peterborough, Ont. Walmart locked down
Dubnyk stops 31 shots as Wild beat Kings 4-1
Boko Haram kills 41, prevents hundreds voting in Nigeria
Lights out Saturday for Earth Hour
There's been little progress in uniting the NDP since leadership turmoil
Canada's Eugenie Bouchard upset at Miami Open
Local businessman has a plan for a Winnipeg without rail lines
The XXX Factor: Sex and relationships in a digital world
Painstaking search continues after NYC blast, but hope dims
The final countdown: Here's how the Jets' charge for a playoff spot shakes down
Two reservists hurt, one seriously, as military truck strikes bridge
Police investigate two deaths on Sioux Valley First Nation
For cancer survivor Don Dietrich, heaven is a hockey rink in the Rockies
Look for blustery end to March
A local artist has been painting portraits of indigenous people who died tragically
The $4.4-B promise: Conservatives hiking child-care benefit ahead of election
Arts, shopping, nightlife... wait a minute, this is Saskatoon?
The calm before the (summer) storm
Police issue description of suspect seen exposing himself
For owners of dance club / 1980s-style arcade, finding vintage amusements was the hardest part
Goldeyes are consistent winners on the field and in the stands
Transcona-raised pro wrestler Kenny Omega is literally big in Japan
24-storey D CONDO TOWER set to rise on site of the former Restaurant Dubrovnik
Winnipeg's Nostalgia Radio finds supporters and success as non-profit co-op
A favourite few: Too difficult to pick just one favourite grape
The vacation bucket list
Of faith and music
Here's your weekend weather in Winnipeg
Cases show vulnerability of privacy with spy cams
Perreault could be in Sunday's Jets lineup against Chicago