Braden Calvert, Corey Chambers, Kyle Kurz and Brendan Bilawka are one win away from representing Manitoba the 2024 Brier next month in Regina.
The Fort Rouge foursome defeated top seed Reid Carruthers, Brad Jacobs, Derek Samagalski and Connor Njegovan of the Granite 8-7 in an extra end in the 1-1 page playoff game of the Viterra Championship Saturday night at the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex in Stonewall.
“It’s hard not to get emotional when you say, ‘the Brier’,” remarked Calvert. “You know, a childhood dream for all four of us, but we got to put that aside Sunday and play the best 10 ends that we’ve probably ever played in our lives.”
Calvert, Chambers, Kurz & Bilawka have reeled off six straight wins and have been rock solid in Stonewall.
“I would argue that before that 10th end against Team Jacobs, we were flawless,” noted Calvert. “We were firing on all cylinders and still thought I threw that draw right on the tee line and it was downhill sliding hog line and in. Whatever, we beared down and easily in the extra end, pulled it off.”
Calvert was two up coming home with hammer in the 1-1 page playoff game and needed full eight-foot with his last rock for the win.
Team Carruthers got to play the 11th end when Calvert’s draw slid to the back of the rings allowing a steal of two.
“I haven’t thrown a rock like that where, when it’s coming into the house, I’m looking at Derek (Samagalski) already and I looked back and the rock is back-eight and then it’s back-12,” Calvert said. “It was path-sensitive. They used that path the whole end and it was hot. We’ll have to learn from that.”
Carruthers, Jacobs, Samagalski and Njegovan will meet Jordon McDonald of Assiniboine Memorial in the semifinal Sunday at 9 a.m.
McDonald, Dallas Burgess, Elias Huminicki and Cameron Olafson edged Jeff Stewart of Gladstone 4-3 in the 2-2 page playoff game.
The semifinal winner will face Team Calvert in the championship game at 2:30 p.m.
Braden Calvert explained that nothing changes when they hit the ice Sunday afternoon with a trip to the Brier on the line.
“Rely on what we’ve done in practice and preparation. Go have a little bit of fun in the meantime and see where the rocks lay.”