Following proven path

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

SELKIRK -- Legendary curling broadcaster Bob Picken once referred to Jeff Stoughton as a "pretty good mixed curler."

That was, of course, before Stoughton became a four-time provincial men's champion, two-time Brier champ and captured a world title.

Stoughton's gradual success is inspiring to Brandon's Terry McNamee, who is a pretty good mixed curler himself, but is still trying to establish himself as a contender at the men's level.

McNamee won the last two provincial mixed championships and led Manitoba on the national stage, compiling 7-4 and 6-5 records.

Now he's competing in his seventh Safeway Select and would love to add a provincial men's curling championship to his collection.

"I've had some success at the men's but this year it would be nice to win it, and the mixed sure helps with our confidence," McNamee said yesterday after stealing two in the 10th to beat Richard Muntain 9-7 in his Safeway Select opener at the Selkirk Recreation Complex. "After going to the national championship a couple of times, I'm a lot more optimistic."

McNamee, a 40-year-old maintenance man, could be a bit of a dark horse at the Select.

His team includes former junior men's champion Geordie Hargreaves (with Mike McEwen in 2001) at third and features a skip who has curled in a lot of big games.

He's not exactly being compared with Stoughton, who won two Canadian mixed titles before tasting success at the men's level and is the favourite here this week, but he certainly would like to follow in the footsteps of the Charleswood skip.

"That's not bad company to be in, I guess," McNamee laughed.

The Brandon skip showed some mettle yesterday in his opening game, building a 6-2 lead, blowing it after gassing a draw against three in the eighth to fall behind 7-6, then playing a brilliant extra end to steal two for the win.

McNamee's last rock in the extra end was a double takeout, with the shooter rolling behind cover to get a piece of the button. That left Muntain only a slight chance to skinny a guard and play the tap back and the St. Vital skip's shot wrecked.

"It would have been a heartbreaker to lose that," McNamee said. "I don't know why he left me the shot he did in the extra, but it was good for us and I made a good shot. I feel good out there and a lot of it comes from playing games at a high level. It just makes you concentrate more."


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