Enough is enough

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

He was determined to erase the frustrations of the recent past.

Fort Garry's top-seeded Andrew Irving knows all about failing to meet expectations at the Target Junior Men's Provincial Championship. As third for Adam Norget's heavily-favoured foursome last year, Irving was on the losing end of two straight playoff losses.

But disappointment started to rear its ugly head for him once again last night. Springfield's second-seeded Curtis Joyal upset Irving 7-4 in the Page playoff 1-vs-1 game. Joyal advances to today's 1:30 p.m. final while Irving -- who had been unbeaten -- drops down to play Petersfield's "Kyle Flett Team" in this morning's semifinal (9:30).

"This is right where we want to be," a joyous Joyal said via telephone from Rivers moments after the match. "This proves that we can be a top team and win the whole province if we play like we can play and if the curling gods are on our side."

Braden Zawada, who throws the last brick for Joyal, made a raise-back double takeout with his last rock in the 10th end to preserve the victory.

"I hope we sent a message," said Joyal, also supported by second Stephen Dash and Tyler Chilboyko. "But no one is going to take us lightly."

Joyal finished the round- robin with a 5-4 extra-end victory over Geoff Lang, bouncing his Wildewod squad out of the championship. Although Joyal tied Team Flett at 6-1, he was awarded top spot by virtue of his victory over the Petersfield outfit in the round-robin.

"We knew coming in we could be good, and I liked our chances," said Joyal, who calls the game and throws third stones. "Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win this after we fell just a little short last year."

Joyal was eliminated from the playoffs by West Kildonan's eventual champion Travis Bale a year ago.

Irving is not out of the picture yet.

"(Winning) would mean more than anything in the world to me," he said before absorbing his first loss. "Words can't explain what it would mean, but it's been my goal for the last six years now. And it would mean a lot to the whole team."

Both third B.J. Neufeld and lead Marc Lacroix are seeking their third provincial titles, while Irving and second Travis Taylor want to get their first.

Team Flett clipped Carman's Ryan Thomson 5-3 in the 2-vs-2 playoff.

Thomson had beaten Alonsa's Cory Zdan 6-3 in a tie-breaker.

BITER: Terry McRae (Team Flett) was named top coach, while Zawada took the sportsmanship award.


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