Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Elias going to Beausejour

Winnipeg skip 'hit for the cycle' after qualifying for provincials

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He's done it as a lead, second and third.

And now, Dave Elias will try it at skip.

The 41-year-old Winnipegger punched his ticket Sunday afternoon to next month's Manitoba men's provincial curling championship in Beausejour, dropping David Hamblin of Morris 5-3 in the semifinal of the Asham main event to collect one of the six remaining provincial berths up for grabs at this year's MCA Bonspiel.

"I've hit for the cycle," Elias said Sunday evening. "I played second for Mark Lukowich in 2002, I played lead for Greg McGibbon and Ron Gauthier in the '90s and I played third for Randy (Dutiaume) in 2005.

"And then I skipped, but didn't throw last rock, for William Kuran. So now I'm skipping and throwing the last rock. I don't know too many guys who would have done all that at the provincials. But I don't know if it will get me into the curling hall of fame either."

Elias was supported at this year's MCA Bonspiel by a cast that was both familiar and hastily thrown together. Elias previously won the 2002 Manitoba title with third Chris Suchy and lead Shane Kilgallen, while second Hub Perrin has done just about everything but win a Manitoba men's title.

The configuration was actually the third different team Elias has curled with this winter. And while his newest team was put together at the last moment, it bears noting that Elias and Kilgallen, along with Greg Melnichuk and Dutiaume, slapped together a team in the moments before the 2005 MCA Bonspiel and rode a remarkable run all the way to the Brier semifinal that winter.

So, can history repeat itself this year? "I won't be making any bold predictions," Elias said. "I'm not going to be doing any trash-talking, if you know what I mean."

Still, it is hard to argue with the man's resumé -- Manitoba men's titles in 2002 and 2005 -- and his most recent results, not to mention the oddity of his having played every position.

Elias describes his current team as something that sounds a bit like an old sweater. "We're all buddies. We all know each other off the ice and we're friends. And so if there's a problem, you know, it gets dealt with.

"There's a chemistry. We all curled together lots over the years, we played well the last few days and it was like the stars all aligned."

Elias was one of two provincial berth winners on Sunday. The other was also a name familiar to Manitoba curling fans -- Petersfield's Dave Boehmer. Boehmer picked up his berth with a 5-1 win over Brandon's Rob Fowler in the other Asham semifinal. Fowler already has his berth.

There are four more provincials berths still to be determined in the two major events -- the Free Press and Safeway-Lucerne.

Among the teams still alive in that hunt heading into Sunday night's late draw were Deer Lodge's Mike Mahon and Matt Peterson, La Salle's Randy Neufeld and West Kildonan's Brendan Taylor.

Hamblin and Fort Rouge's Troy Hamilton, meanwhile, are definitely still alive this morning in their hunt for berths.

The finals for all the MCA Bonspiel events will be held tonight, including the Asham final between Elias and Boehmer.

But it is still possible the bonspiel could extend into Tuesday if playoffs are required to determine all the berth winners.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2011 C4

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