MCA's top dog keeping his cool

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

SELKIRK -- MCA bonspiel winner Randy Dutiaume of Valour Road had to sweat out his second victory, a nail-biter over St. Vital's Doug Riach.

The game came down to a tricky, last-rock tap-back, good for two in an 8-7 victory.

"That is stressful," Dutiaume said, unbuttoning his jacket in an effort to cool down. "Those guys played a great game. Back and forth. I mean, every time we had the hammer we got a deuce. We were just grinding it out."

Making matters even more tense, Dutiaume was perilously close to running out of time on his last shot.

"I wasn't thinking about the clock," he insisted. "(Lead) Shane Kilgallen said we've got lots of time, so that kind of takes that time issue out of it. I was just trying to concentrate on the weight."

Dutiaume will square off with top seed Jeff Stoughton this morning, the winner advancing to the qualifying round, the loser getting another chance to advance this afternoon.

Some might see Dutiaume as needing to prove his roll through the MCA bonspiel wasn't a fluke, but he doesn't see it that way.

"We're really having fun out there ... regardless of the environment," he said. "And it is a very stressful environment, if you let that take you away. But keep your emotions in check. And, honestly, it's just like playing a club game with these guys."

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: One of the early surprises has been Flin Flon's Blaine Gogal, who won the northern berth to get here, then promptly won his first two games, including yesterday's 6-4 decision over St. Vital's Ryan Fry.

"We know our chances of winning it are pretty remote," Gogal said. "But if we make the final eight, who knows? We still haven't played our best game, and we're 2-0."

Curling out of the Uptown Club, Gogal, third Jim Quinn, second Kelly Peterson and lead Russ Reeves don't face nearly the competition most rinks here do during the season.

Usually, that leads to an early exit for northern teams.

"That's what we're out here trying to do, make a name for ourselves and get a little respect for the North," Gogal said.

He has a golden opportunity to do just that this morning: he takes on four-time provincial champ, Kerry Burtnyk.

STAYIN' ALIVE: Staving off elimination on the B-side last night were Fry, Riach and Dauphin's Peter Prokopowich.


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