By Ashley Prest
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE — The Mike McEwen team from Winnipeg and former Olympian Kevin Martin of Edmonton shook hands after four ends here on Sunday evening in their B-side qualifier as McEwen put up a 7-1 victory at the 2012 Canad Inns Prairie Classic men's curling bonspiel.
McEwen, with the hammer in the fourth end, scored four points and Martin's team immediately extended their hands. The abrupt end to the game cut short Shaw TV's live broadcast, which was expected to go six ends.
Martin appeared to be having trouble with his draw weight as his final two skip stones came up short and left the door open for McEwen.
"That doesn't happen too often against that team," said McEwen, who is the two-time defending Canad Inns Prairie Classic champion. "I feel bad for the next team they play against. They'll probably take it out on them!"
The win qualified the McEwen team for Monday's quarter-finals at 10 a.m. along with the Glenn Howard team from Coldwater, Ont., which beat the William Lyburn team from Winnipeg in the other B qualifier.
The Jeff Stoughton and Brad Gushue teams qualified from the A-side draw on Saturday. The four C-side qualifiers will be decided tonight at 8:30 p.m. In those games, Heath McCormick will meet Martin, Rob Fowler will take on John Epping, Mark Keen will play Kevin Koe and Niklas Edin will face Lyburn.
At the Fort Rouge Curling Club in Winnipeg at the 2012 Manitoba Lotteries Women's Curling Classic, A-side qualifiers were by the Jennifer Jones and Laura Crocker teams on Saturday. Taking the B-side qualifiers this afternoon were the Rachel Homan and Shannon Kleibrink teams. In tonight's C-side qualifiers at 7:30, Amber Holland will take on Stefanie Lawton, Margaretha Sigridsson will meet Cheryl Bernard, Barb Spencer will face Marie-France Larouche and defending champion Renee Sonnenberg will play Krista McCarville.
The women's semifinals are at 1:30 p.m. on Monday followed at 5 p.m. by the final. The winner earns a $15,000 prize out of the $60,000 total prize purse in the women's bonspiel.
At Portage on Monday, the men's semifinals are at 2 p.m. followed at 6 p.m. by the final. The men's event carries a $58,000 total prize purse with the winning team getting $18,000.