Park placed in driver's seat

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

Following Ed Lukowich's example is never a bad idea when it comes to curling.

Lukowich, after all, was the one who started this whole mess with the skip not throwing last rocks. In 1979, his third, Mike Chernoff, took that duty and they won the Brier.

So many teams have followed suit, including five-time world champ Randy Ferbey, who abdicates last stones to Dave Nedohin.

Now enter Calgary's Steve Petryk, who hands off seven and eight to Kevin Park.

It has worked so far, with Petryk earning the south's C berth to the Kia Cup provincials yesterday with a 6-3 win over Sterling Hansen.

"I curled with Ed at the Brier," said Petryk, recalling his trip to the national gala in 1994. "So, I've learned a lot from him.

"I curl annually with Ed in fun bonspiels and I talked to him about it.

"He thought it was a good idea to split up the duties."

Petryk hooked up with Park at last year's Brier in Edmonton, where they were both spectators.

The history between the two runs deep.

"I skipped at a Canadian juniors in 1982 and, that year, I beat Kevin," said Petryk.

"The following year, he beat me. We've been pretty much rivals ever since in men's. But we always talked about curling together and the time was right."

They brought in the front end from Red Deer -- second Shaun Meachem and lead Doug Stambaugh -- and now they're headed to provincials.

Petryk wouldn't have it any other way.

"I think we have a mutual respect for each other, especially where game strategy is concerned," he said of Park.

"He's awesome. He can throw the high, hard weight with anyone. But he's got a fine touch, too. He's right up there with anybody."

Not after a long road through the southerns, though. They landed in the C event after losing to Greg Anholt Saturday in the A and then Harold Breckenridge in the B.

Park said it was a grind.

"We were even five back in C and we really had to take it one at a time. I tell you, I'm just elated right now," he said.

"I can't believe it. That was a great winning streak ... and this is where you want to peak. But I don't think we want to come out of C event every time. It's hard on the nerves."

After dispatching Mickey Pendergast 6-5 in the morning semifinal, Petryk wanted to play a wait-and-see game with Hansen and then pounce when he had the chance, drawing for two in the fifth.

In the sixth, Park threw a dandy triple takeout with his first stone to get Petryk out of a jam and the rink turned it into a steal of one, when Hansen failed to raise a guard for two.

They ran into trouble again, sitting one on the button against two Hansen rocks. Park threw up a guard with his last shot, instead of risking the big weight.

"In my mind, he didn't have a shot," said Park. "Unfortunately, our lead came in and pointed out a shot that he might throw.

"A little beguiling to me he would do that but (Hansen) threw it as good as he could. He hit the spot he wanted but the shot wasn't there.

"We got the steal and it's a good thing I was right. Otherwise, I would have been paying the price."

Petryk joins John Morris and Dean Ross, the A and B qualifiers, respectively, at the provincials.


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