Young Fry is cooking

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

SELKIRK -- They are cool, confident and just a tad cocky -- a perfect recipe for the success of the fearless young guns at the Safeway Select. Ryan Fry's Winnipeg foursome continued to tear up the provincial men's curling championship yesterday at the Selkirk Recreation Centre, moving into position to win a Manitoba title and do something that hasn't been accomplished since Kerry Burtnyk was barely out of his teens.

And wasn't it fitting that Fry was on the ice yesterday, pulling off a huge upset of Burtnyk himself to move within two wins of his first provincial men's championship? You see, it was Burtnyk who burst onto the provincial men's scene by winning the Tankard (and Brier) back in 1981 at age 22. And no skip anywhere nearly as young has won a provincial title since.

That could change today.

"No one dreams of getting (to this point), you dream about winning it," Fry, 26, said after he and his teammates topped Burtnyk 5-4 yesterday to qualify for the Select Four's one vs. one game.

Fry was on the ice against Winnipeg's Randy Dutiaume late last night, where he suffered a setback with an 8-6 loss.

But his teammates, Kyle Werenich, Jason Smith and Cory Naharnie, all in the their mid-20s, are playing the games of their lives this week. They look every bit as much like poised veterans as icons like Burtnyk and Jeff Stoughton, who are not faring as well this week.

"There's not really much jitters for anyone on our team," Fry said. "It was more nerve-wracking playing the first game, to be honest with you, than playing these games."

Fry, seeded 10th, and Dutiaume (ninth) were surprise opponents in the one vs one game, where Dutiaume earned a berth in today's final (2 p.m., Global) and Fry dropped to the semifinal (9 a.m., Global).

While Fry was upsetting Burtnyk, Dutiaume took out Stoughton 7-4, sending the top two seeds to the B-side in the morning draw. Stoughton rebounded with a 7-3 win over Pete Nicholls and Burtnyk beat Brent Scales 7-4 to set up an elimination game matchup last night that many people expected to come in the final.

The game was ongoing at press time.

"The job's not done yet," said Dutiaume of his trip to the final. "We are a long way away from winning anything. We've got nothing to be proud of yet."

Fry, with Smith at second, won provincial junior titles in 1996 and 1997, while Werenich and Naharnie were both named all-stars for their excellent play this week.

"We've curled really well and it's confidence more than anything else," said Werenich. "We've played good calibre teams in the past and we've taken our lumps. This isn't a surprise for us."

Not a major surprise to Burtnyk either.

"I always felt that sometimes the young guys have no fear," Burtnyk said. "They don't know the consequences of losing, so therefore maybe the pressure isn't on them as much. But it's been a long time coming to see some teams playing well and Ryan's team is doing pretty good so far, so it's great to see."


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