McEwen beats ‘frenemy’ Carruthers to capture Manitoba crown
Mike McEwen celebrates with his team following a four-point eighth end en route to defeating Reid Carruthers and winning the Viterra men's provincial curling championship this afternoon at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE — Mike McEwen earned his revenge and captured his second straight Manitoba Men’s curling championship.
McEwen beat his “frenemy” Reid Carruthers 8-7 Sunday afternoon at Stride Place to capture the Manitoba title less than 24 hours after losing to the same team in a Page playoff game.
McEwen, B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld will represent Manitoba at the Brier in St. John’s, Nfld., March 4-12.
The McEwen foursome went 8-3 and lost the 3-4 game to eventual champion Kevin Koe at the Brier last year in Ottawa.
Prior to last year, McEwen lost five provincial finals. He has now competed in four straight Manitoba finals and seven of the last eight.
McEwen entered the Viterra Championship as the second seed, behind Carruthers whose team is one of the leaders on the World Curling Tour this season.
The two teams were incredibly evenly matched, but it was McEwen who had the upper hand this time against a skip he calls a good friend.
The turning point in the game came in the eighth end, when McEwen made a double with his last rock for four points to lead 8-5. Carruthers could not get either of his draws to sit where he wanted them and McEwen had a relatively easy shot for four.
The McEwen team entered the championship saying that they very nearly broke up earlier this season because things were going so badly. But during the tournament, the 36-year-old skip thought they were curling as well as they have in years.
The only blip all week was the loss to Carruthers in the 1-vs-2 game Saturday night, when McEwen’s last rock picked in the eighth and Carruthers stole two points en route to a 4-2 victory.