Undefeated Carruthers clear through to Viterra Championship final

Reid Carruthers shoots a stone during the 2017 Masters Grand Slam of Curling in Lloydminster, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

Reid Carruthers has won six consecutive games at the Viterra Championship. One more and his West St. Paul club will be off to the Tim Hortons Brier.

Carruthers climbed into the Manitoba men’s final with a 7-3 victory over Team McEwen during Saturday’s Page 1-2 playoff game in Winkler.

The Winnipeg side is playing without skip Mike McEwen, who was hospitalized Thursday due to a bad case of chicken pox and is unlikely to return to the tournament.

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Team McEwen, the double defending champions, have pushed forward as a trio with vice B.J. Neufeld moving up to last stones and second Matt Wozniak and lead Denni Neufeld each throwing three rocks. It was the first defeat in the tournament for the team, which also entered the 1-2 game riding a five-game unbeaten streak.

The McEwen crew is still in it and will play Winnipeg’s JT Ryan in Sunday morning’s semifinal with Carruthers awaiting the winner. Ryan, the reigning Manitoba junior champ, defeated Steve Irwin of Brandon 5-3 in the Page 3-4 playoff game.

The team of Carruthers, third Braeden Moskowy, second Derek Samagalski and lead Colin Hodgson captured the Manitoba title during their first season together in 2015. Carruthers also claimed three provincial titles while playing with legendary skip Jeff Stoughton as well as Brier and world championships in 2011.

The winner of the Viterra Championship will represent Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier taking place March 3-11 in Regina. Should Team McEwen not retain the provincial title, they will still have another chance at qualifying for the Brier via the wildcard play-in game as the No. 1 ranked club on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS).

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