NEEPAWA — Jeff Stoughton won his tenth Manitoba men’s curling championship here Sunday afternoon, defeating Sean Grassie 7-4 in the final of the 2013 Safeway Championship at Yellowhead Centre.
Stoughton and his team — third Jon Mead, second Reid Carruthers and lead Mark Nichols — will now represent Manitoba at the Brier, March 2-10 in Edmonton.
"It never gets old," said Stoughton. "We knew we’d have to come out with a really good game. We certainly got a couple of breaks from Sean’s misses early, which made the game a little simpler for us. We didn’t have to go too hard after that.
"(It was) just sort of scoreboard management and the guys played well enough to pull this off."
Grassie struggled mightily with his draw weight early in the game and handed Stoughton a 3-0 lead on steals after just the first two ends.
But the plucky Grassie foursome — third Corey Chambers, second Kody Janzen and lead Stu Shiells — battled back and appeared poised to score a game-tying steal in the ninth end.
But as he has done so often before, Stoughton found an escape route, authoring an impossibly tight double-takeout with the last rock of the ninth end to transform that Grassie steal into a backbreaking Stoughton deuce.
"It’s really tough to lose in a provincial final," said Grassie. "But overall I’m happy with the way we battled and we had a really good week."
In addition to it being the tenth provincial title for Stoughton, it is the fifth Manitoba men’s title for Mead and the second for Carruthers. It is the first Manitoba title for Nichols, but it will be his ninth trip to the Brier after eight previous provincial championships in Newfoundland as third for Brad Gushue.