La Salle's Neufeld steamrolls into final

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

Cal Neufeld's road to a repeat has been smooth, straight and dry so far.

The La Salle skip steamrolled into the Manitoba Junior Women's Curling Championship final with a 7-3 victory over Pembina's previously-unbeaten Kaitlyn Lawes last night at the St. Vital Curling Club.

Neufeld and teammates Sabrina Neufeld, Laryssa Grenkow and Lindsay Edie, will look to defend their provincial title today at 1:30 p.m., against either Lawes or Brandon's Erin Mahoney, who will meet in the semifinal at 9:30 a.m.

Neufeld went 6-1 in the round robin and then topped Lawes (7-0) in the Page playoff 1-vs.-1 game. Meanwhile, Mahoney (6-1) beat Petersfield's Kerri Flett (5-2) 9-8 in an extra end in the 2-vs.-2 game last night.

MCA'S QUICK DRAW: The 118th annual MCA Bonspiel, which starts on Jan. 19, will go ahead with 441 teams, seven short of an already-reduced limit.

Bonspiel entries closed on Thursday and MCA executives will not take any late-comers.

The draw was made yesterday morning. The bonspiel had a limit of 512 teams last year and came up well short.

"It will be full next year," said MCA media relations director Resby Coutts. "Because people will get the message that they can't wait until after the deadline to get in."

TOUR TIDBITS: Virden's Graham Freeman, Saskatoon's Steve Laycock and Valour Road's Mike McEwen earned berths in the playoff round of the Manitoba Curling Tour Championship in Swan River yesterday.

EARNED BYES

All three qualified through the A-side, but Freeman and Laycock earned byes into the semifinals by out-pointing McEwen in a special shootout yesterday afternoon.

McEwen will now play B-side qualifier Reid Carruthers of Valour Road in the quarter-final round today at 9:30 a.m. In B-side qualifying games, Carruthers beat Brent Scales of Swan River 7-6, David Bohn of Valour Road beat David Hamblin of Morris 7-2 and Allan Lyburn of Brandon beat Murray Woodward of Ste. Anne 5-3. Bohn will play Lyburn in the quarter-final round.

The winner of the MCT Championship receives $7,000 and, if eligible, a berth in a Safeway Select playoff against Brent Braemer.

FOWLER FLYING: In the women's MCT event, Brandon's Lois Fowler is a win away from claiming the title and the $2,500 top prize.

Fowler beat Betty Buurma of Carberry 12-3 yesterday to earn a berth in today's final. Her team will play Buurma, who topped Terry Ursel of Plumas 8-3 on the B-side last night, in today's final. Buurma would have to beat Fowler twice today to win the event, which featured only four teams.

PEBBLES: Victoria's Allison Nimik, the 2001 champion who was eliminated yesterday in her final provincial junior championship, was selected by the competitors as this year's recipient of the Susan Galbraith Sportsmanship Award. Kyle Peters of Morden was selected for the award on the junior men's side ... Third B.J. Neufeld's shot at an unprecedented third straight provincial junior men's title ended yesterday when Ryan Coy's Fort Garry foursome lost 7-4 to Travis Bale of West Kildonan in a tiebreaker. Neufeld won back-to-back provincial titles with Daley Peters.


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