McEwen wins first career Manitoba provincial title

After being the runner-up five times, Mike McEwen takes the Manitoba Final.

Mike McEwen had been waiting a while for this moment.

Five times McEwen finished runner-up for the provincial title, but the Winnipeg native can now finally lay claim to the Manitoba Viterra Championship.

McEwen made a takeout with his final shot in the 10th end to score a deuce and lift his team to a 4-2 win over Matt Dunstone during Sunday’s final in Selkirk.

The clutch shot booked McEwen’s first trip to the Tim Hortons Brier next month in Ottawa.

Team McEwen — which also includes third B.J. Neufeld, second Matt Wozniak, and lead Denni Neufeld — had been on point throughout the event posting a perfect 7-0 record and will now wear the buffalo jackets for the first time.

McEwen opened the final with the hammer and blanked the first two ends unable to generate offence against the reigning Canadian junior champion Dunstone.

The teams split singles in three and four to keep things tight.

Dunstone made a double with his last in five to clear the house and McEwen threw his final rock through the rings to blank again. McEwen was held to another single in six and forced Dunstone to the same in seven knotting it up 2-2.

McEwen blanked the eighth and ninth ends to retain the hammer coming home and set up the dramatic finish.

Dunstone toppled defending champ Reid Carruthers 8-4 earlier Sunday in the semifinal.

Down by a point after four, the 20-year-old Dunstone broke the game open with a four-ender in the fifth to take the lead 5-2. Carruthers made a nearly perfect draw to the button, but Dunstone was able to follow through with his last to punch the counter back far enough to score four.

Carruthers struggled with his draw weight during the game and was held to one point in the sixth. Dunstone could have settled for a single in seven but opted to attempt a double takeout and pulled it off for a deuce to make it a four-point advantage. The teams alternated singles in eight and nine and Carruthers shook hands.

Dunstone had already committed to competing in the world juniors and wouldn’t be attending the Brier regardless, however, McEwen was able to earn his Brier berth on merit with the final win.

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