No shame in loss to Burtnyk

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

It is not often a losing team asks the winner to take a picture with them on the ice just after a match.

But that's what Heather's Adam Norget did after Assiniboine Memorial's legendary Kerry Burtnyk handed him his first loss of the MCA's 117th Annual Bonspiel by a 5-2 score at the Thistle Curling Club yesterday.

"Yeah, it was a first experience for me," Norget, 19, said of the digital Kodak moment. "But that's OK. I don't mind losing to Kerry. He's a good guy, both on and off the ice and it was great for us to play him, especially as a junior team."

In fact, Norget's youthful foursome had been monitoring the draw knowing that he was in a collision course with the two-time Brier winner.

"It was a great experience, playing against a topnotch team like that and you don't get to do it very often," said Norget, supported by third Andrew Irving, Geoff Lang and Jordan Bauldic. "In this case, we had to win 12 (straight) games to be able to do it so, it was a lot of fun. And we were the underdogs so, we had nothing to lose. But we still wanted to win that one. Unfortunately, we couldn't pull it off."

But Burtnyk needed it more to stay in the hunt for one of the five Safeway Select spots available.

"That was a really big win for us because it guarantees us a minimum of a playoff and we've got a chance now to play for a (Select) spot in our next game, which is the whole aim for this weekend," said Burtnyk, who plays La Salle's Randy Neufeld in a main-event semifinal at the Elmwood Curling Club this morning at 9 o'clock.

Should he earn that berth, Burtnyk will be aiming toward becoming the first skip to represent Manitoba at the Brier five times.

Burtnyk had dropped to one leg after losing to St. Vital's Doug Riach on Monday.

"You can't expect to win all the games in this bonspiel and, as it turned out, we ended up losing almost the perfect one to lose, if you are going to lose one, because we were getting a little tired," he said. "We just couldn't afford to lose another one. To play only one game today was kind of nice. We were able to recoup our energy a little bit, not only for tomorrow but we've got a few games coming up (tomorrow) and Friday (at the Grand Slam's Canadian Open) so, it's nice not to knock ourselves out too much."

Burtnyk was impressed with the youngsters.

"They're a great young team," he said. "It's really good this year to see not only them but the other young guys to really start to do well in men's curling. It's been a long time we've been waiting for these juniors to come and show up.

"They might win the Grand Aggregate here, which would be great for the game and hopefully spur on some other juniors to really play hard, too."

Norget, who is ineligible to win a Select spot, bounced Pembina's Bill North 4-2 last night to stay in the aggie race with Valour Road's Randy Dutiaume, who upped his record to 13-0 by eliminating Merv Satterthwaite of Fort Rouge 7-6 last night. Also on the late draw, Riach ended David Hamblin's hopes when he defeated the Morris squad 8-7 in an extra end.

Dutiaume plays Morden's Brad Wainikka for another spot at the Heather this morning while Riach needs to beat Norget in the afternoon for a berth.


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