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Manitoba skip McEwen headed to the Brier

Mike McEwen (R) and Denni Neufeld celebrate after defeating Matt Dunstone at the 2016 mens provincial championships in Selkirk Sunday.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mike McEwen (R) and Denni Neufeld celebrate after defeating Matt Dunstone at the 2016 mens provincial championships in Selkirk Sunday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/2/2016 (1005 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SELKIRK -- Mike McEwen will represent Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier next month in Ottawa.

And he will do so as the rightful 2016 Manitoba men’s curling champion.

McEwen completed a highly unusual daily double with a 4-2 win over Matt Dunstone here in the final of the Viterra Championship Sunday afternoon, adding his first -- and long awaited -- Manitoba men’s title to the Brier berth McEwen had won earlier in the day.

“It was such a strange feeling playing that final, because of the underlying story of having already clinched a Brier berth,” said McEwen. “But the shot at the end still felt the same though.”

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/2/2016 (1005 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

SELKIRK — Mike McEwen will represent Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier next month in Ottawa.

And he will do so as the rightful 2016 Manitoba men’s curling champion.

McEwen completed a highly unusual daily double with a 4-2 win over Matt Dunstone here in the final of the Viterra Championship Sunday afternoon, adding his first — and long awaited — Manitoba men’s title to the Brier berth McEwen had won earlier in the day.

"It was such a strange feeling playing that final, because of the underlying story of having already clinched a Brier berth," said McEwen. "But the shot at the end still felt the same though."

McEwen and his foursome — third B.J. Neufeld, second Matt Wozniak and lead Denni Neufeld — needed every bit of their very best game to defeat a Dunstone squad that was purportedly using this event as a tuneup for next month’s world junior championship but instead proved that they can throw them with the best men’s teams too.

McEwen was the difference in the tenth and final end, playing a runback double takeout with his first rock to get his team out of big trouble and then using his final stone to cooly tap back a Dunstone counter — buried and biting the button — to secure the win.

It was a brilliant finish to a remarkably well-played final that was already going to be remembered for years to come because of the unusual circumstances in which the game was played.

McEwen had already won his first Brier berth before he even set foot on the ice on Sunday because Dunstone — the newly crowned 2016 Canadian junior champion — had a scheduling conflict that sees this year’s Brier in Ottawa run on the exact same dates as this year’s World Juniors in Denmark.

Mike McEwen (from left), B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld raise the trophy after defeating Matt Dunstone at the 2016 mens provincial championships in Selkirk.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Mike McEwen (from left), B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld raise the trophy after defeating Matt Dunstone at the 2016 mens provincial championships in Selkirk.

Dunstone had already committed to represent Canada at the world juniors regardless of what happened in the men’s provincials and so when he advanced to the final earlier on Sunday with a semifinal victory over defending champion Reid Carruthers, McEwen had his Brier berth secured no matter what happened in the final.

That admittedly took some of the pressure off McEwen in a provincial final that his team had lost five times in the last six years. But the criticism that would have surely dogged his team all the way to the Brier if they’d lost the final to Dunstone came with it’s own unique pressure.

"I felt less pressure. I did," said McEwen. "Until the last two shots. And then, whoa...I felt it then."

For Dunstone, it was a bittersweet ending to a remarkable week for his team. "We gave it all we had out there," said Dunstone. "You couldn’t ask for a better final. Both teams really wanted it out there...

"I couldn’t be more proud. For us to come here and do what we did and be an inch away from coming out on top, I couldn’t be more proud.

"We’re on quite the streak right now. Just want to keep it going."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Paul Wiecek

Paul Wiecek
Reporter

Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.

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History

Updated on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 5:48 PM CST: Writethrough

February 15, 2016 at 9:24 AM: Updates picture

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