Reid Carruthers is one win away from capturing his eighth provincial men’s curling championship.
Carruthers, Derek Samagalski and Connor Njegovan of the Morris Curling Club defeated Braden Calvert of Fort Rouge 7-4 in the 1-2 page playoff game Saturday night at the 2023 Viterra Championship at the Yellowhead Centre in Neepawa.
Carruthers played an angle raise hit for two in the eighth end to tie the game at 4-4 and then stole three in the ninth when Calvert’s last rock draw to the four-foot picked and came up short of the rings.
“It’s been a battle all week,” said Carruthers. “We’ve had the ups and downs; we’ve had the fortunate breaks. This game in particular, it was one of the ones we probably didn’t deserve to win but it’s been kind of the story of our team this week is that we’ve been hanging in there and when we get the chances, we’ve been capitalizing on them.”
Carruthers, Samagalski and Njegovan have won four in a row since losing their “A” side qualifier on Friday morning and will play in the final Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
“I know it’s hard on the guy's bodies,” noted Carruthers. “I can tell by their sweeping they’re starting to get tired, but they have been doing awesome with it. There is no complaining. I know they’re ailing a little bit, they’re a little bit tired but they’re doing fantastic.”
Calvert, Kyle Kurz, Ian McMillan and Rob Gordon will meet top seed Matt Dunstone of Fort Rouge Sunday at 9 a.m. in the semifinals.
Dunstone bounced back from Saturday mornings 8-4 loss to Calvert with a pair of lopsided wins.
Dunstone, B.J. Neufeld, Colton Lott and Ryan Harnden defeated Ryan Wiebe of St. Vital 7-1 in six ends and then downed Steve Irwin of Brandon 8-2 in five ends in the 3-4 page playoff game to earn a spot in the semifinal and a rematch with Calvert.
“Our team's kind of done that all year,” said Dunstone who lost the 2016 provincial men’s final to Mike McEwen weeks after winning his second provincial junior final.” We don’t go on any sort of losing streaks very often. Our ability to bounce back is what’s really impressive about this team. The guys did exactly that. Obviously, I had a really rough one this morning. Braden played phenomenally and they buried us pretty quickly there. To bounce back and to just have faith in ourselves and all the work we’ve put into this, at this point in the event you just trust your stuff and it’s very impressive that we came out and did exactly that.”
The 2023 Brier will be held next month in London, Ontario.