The last two provincial men's curling champions have now won five straight games at the 2017 Viterra Championship in Portage la Prairie.
Reigning champion Mike McEwen of Fort Rouge and 2015 champ Reid Carruthers of West St. Paul qualified for the Championship Round this morning.
McEwen, BJ Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld defeated Matt Dunstone of Deer Lodge 7-2 in seven ends in a rematch of last years final in Selkirk.
“It's important for us to be excited to play those guys and we are,” said McEwen. “I'm at the stage where I get excited to play the best teams so Saturday and Sunday of Manitoba provincials are my favourite days. Didn't use to be that way but age and wisdom. Some of the greats in our sport - Kevin Martin, Jeff Stoughton, all those guys got really excited to play the best. I was pumped to play the young guys today.”
Carruthers, Braeden Moskowy, Derek Samagalski and Colin Hodgson got three in the extra end and beat William Lyburn of the Granite 8-5.
“I think the guys were a little jittery in that one and it's good to feel that because we know we're probably going to feel that tonight when we're up against a great team like Mike's,” said Carruthers. “We earned ourselves a nice little rest. It will be nice to kick the feet up and come back even stronger tonight.”
McEwen and Carruthers will meet in the 1-2 game of the Championship Round with the winner advancing to the final on Sunday afternoon.
The loser will play in the semifinal tomorrow morning.
The final two spots will be determined this afternoon when Dunstone faces Jason Gunnlaugson of the Granite and Lyburn meets Trevor Loreth of the Granite.
Loreth and Gunnlaugson won Playoff Round “B” side games this morning.
Gunnlaugson downed David Bohn of Assiniboine Memorial 7-5 and Loreth beat Dennis Bohn of Assiniboine Memorial 6-4.