It had not been a banner season for Reid Carruthers.
The youngster was riding high coming into the year. His foursome, after all, won the Asham Super League, the Valour Road club championship and lost the Safeway Select final to Jeff Stoughton.
Carruthers won some coin in an early cashspiel but had been suffering a long drought -- until this past weekend. Carruthers became the first of only two Manitoba teams to reach the championship round at the Canada Cup Qualifier in Edmonton.
"It's nice to finally have a little winning and get some money for a change," Carruthers, who was guaranteed at least $3,500, said from Edmonton yesterday. "It's been a awhile and to do it in a field like this is pretty amazing. Everyone's here but (Quebec's reigning Brier champ Jean-Michel) Menard and (Ontario's Glenn) Howard.
"I can't say we were lucky -- we did run into (Newfoundland's Olympic gold-medallist Brad) Gushue -- but we didn't have to play any other big names. But we've been playing really well and the ice is to our liking. It runs a little straight so we can make lots of hits -- just like the Select (in Steinbach) last year."
Carruthers was playing New Brunswick's James Grattan in the first round of the playoffs late last night.
"We've just got to win two games to get into the Canada Cup so we're in not bad shape," said Carruthers, supported by third Jason Gunnlaugson, new second Justin Richter and Tyler Forrest.
Four teams will earn trips to the Canada Cup today.
Meanwhile, Jeff Stoughton eliminated Vic Peters 8-3 to become the only other Manitoba team out of the six entered to qualify.
In Ottawa, Manitoba's Kristy Jenion and Karen Porritt joined Jennifer Jones in the playoff round of the women's Canada Cup qualifier.
SR. WINNERS: Valour Road's John Bubbs, Granite's Robert Baldwinson (filling in for Gary Gumprich), Victoria's Norm Magnusson, Heather's Clare DeBlonde and Pembina's Lionel Walz earned trips to the Strathcona Senior Men's Provincial Playdowns, to be held at the Fort Rouge Curling Club, Feb. 22-26, through the city zone playdowns at the Grain Exchange Curling Club yesterday.
Carman's Bill North was the first to qualify in the senior men's rural zones.
GAMES-BOUND: In the Canada Games Trials, Westman's Katie Kruk and Winnipeg's Brian Thomson earned trips to Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, in February. Kruk beat Winnipeg's Breanne Meakin 9-1 in the girls final while Thomson defeated Central's Alex Forrest 8-6 in the boys final at the Granite Curling Club.