Dutiaume shakes up squad

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

It's not being called a firing, but Randy Dutiaume has parted ways with second Greg Melnichuk after eight years together.

Dutiaume, who had a Cinderella run last winter that led to the Manitoba men's provincial curling championship and a third-place showing at the Brier, made the move after a poor showing on the cash circuit and at the Select this season.

Vagabond curler Chris Suchy, who had been playing third for Mark Lukowich, will now play lead for Dutiaume's Valour Road squad, while Shane Kilgallen, who had been the lead, will move up to second.

Melnichuk has joined James Kirkness at lead, and Lukowich has added Andy Stewart, who had been playing for Murray Woodward, at third.

Melnichuk's departure seemed to be an amicable one.

"I told him face to face," Dutiaume said. "It wasn't an e-mail or over-the-phone type of thing. He's a good friend of mine, and it's just one of those things.

"Now that he's sort of had some time to digest it, he doesn't think it's all that bad of an idea either.

"We weren't cutting him; he didn't quit. We just sort of had decided ... we'd come to a Y in the road, and he wanted to take one way and ... we wanted to take another."

Suchy is now on his third team in the last two years. He won the 2005 Manitoba Curling Tour Championship with Renaud Gagne, but he and the rest of the squad left to join Lukowich soon after.

"Sooch has got some experience, and he was our fifth man at the Brier last year," Dutiaume said. "He adds, hopefully, some intensity -- that intensity and experience that the team will need to take it to the next level.

"I fully intend on making a little bit better run at the Select championship next year, and hopefully Sooch can bring that little extra that we need."

SENIOR UPDATE: Howie Restall's rink continues to roll.

The top-ranked Granite foursome, undefeated through round robin play at the 2006 Senior Men's Provincial Championship in Melita, earned a berth in the final by beating Brian Fowler 7-2 in eight ends in the first round of the Page playoff last night.

Restall stole singles in the fifth, sixth and seventh, and two in the eighth off of the Brandon rink to advance to today's final (1:30 p.m.).

The defending Manitoba senior champions will face the winner of this morning's semifinal game between Fowler and Ron Westcott. That gets underway at 9:30 a.m.

Westcott's Fort Rouge foursome scored three in the eighth to get by Ray Hainstock of Burntwood 7-4 in nine ends last night to advance.

At the Senior Women's Provincial Championship at the Victoria Curling Club, Joyce McDougall is also headed to the final after her Souris rink got past Selkirk's Marg Streich 8-5 in nine ends in the battle between two of the top round robin teams (both finished at 6-1).

McDougall will await the winner of the semifinal match between Streich and Lois Fowler of Brandon.


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