Lightning struck on the West St. Paul Curling Club pebble yesterday.
Deer Lodge's unranked and unexpected Eugene Desjarlais upset Assiniboine Memorial's top-seeded Kerry Burtnyk 12-11 in an extra end in a B-side semifinal of the Safeway Select city zone playdowns.
STATE OF SHOCK
"I'm in a state of shock right now," admitted a dumbfounded Desjarlais when he first emerged from the ice. "It feels good, what can I say? It's been our dream to play him."
Actually, it was not the first time Desjarlais had faced the living legend, coming within one end of toppling the heavily favoured former world champ four years ago.
"We actually made the paper because we took him to the last end last time," said Desjarlais, 39. "That was our first game of the zones. He took revenge on everyone else after that.
"It was great. Our goal was just to have the opportunity to play him here and have fun. We didn't think we'd win, but the opportunity to play him was what we were looking for and we're happy about that."
Desjarlais, who has never been to the men's provincials, stole four in the fourth end when Burtnyk came up light on an attempted draw to take a 7-2 lead. Burtnyk, who won the A-side final late Friday, eventually tied the score 9-9 after eight, then forced the extra end with a deuce in the 10th end.
But Desjarlais won without having to throw his last brick.
"Good team effort," said Desjarlais, supported by his brother, Randy, 38, at third, second, John Rocke, 42, and Ernie Blackbird, 41. "(Blackbird) set us up pretty good and made it interesting. A high score like that, I don't know if it was a curling game or a football game. But it was fun. I enjoyed it."
If Desjarlais beats Granite's Carl German in this morning's B final, he will face Burtnyk once again in the A-B final this afternoon.
"Yeah, I think he'll be looking for blood, pretty much," said Desjarlais, who conducts his own accountant training business. "But you never know, lightning might strike twice."
In another upset, Granite's Brian Zachary eliminated Fort Garry's Daley Peters (who was skipping in the absence of his injured father) 8-6. Granite's Jamie Hay also bounced Valour Road's seventh-seeded Doug Riach 8-4.
Meanwhile, Charleswood's defending champion, Jeff Stoughton, can clinch a Select spot with a victory over Mike Mahon of Deer Lodge in today's 10 a.m. B final at the Elmwood Curling Club.
Others who can clinch provincial berths this morning are: Valour Road's third-seeded Randy Dutiaume and David Bohn, and Granite's Bob Sigurdson.
Valour Road's James Kirkness and West Kildonan's Pete Nicholls both suffered losses and, like Burtnyk, will play in afternoon A-B finals.