Walchuk a winner

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Sometimes it's the ends you don't score that make the difference between winning and losing.

In last night's B Event final of the men's northerns, the curling gods put Don Walchuk's squad to the test.

And, Walchuk came through, taking a 6-5 extra end win and handing Wade White his second straight qualifier loss.

It looked for sure that the curling gods were going to repay White for a picked rock against Kevin Martin in Saturday's A final.

After second Warren Hassall's first rock picked, White buried his shot rock, put up a third guard, and had visions of a go-ahead steal dancing in his head.

STEPPED UP

Hassall cooly stepped up and made a raise triple takeout that allowed Walchuk to maintain hammer with a blank that he rode to the victory.

"Warren played awesome all weekend,'' said Walchuk.

After a slow start to the World Curling Tour season, Walchuk had become increasingly frustrated.

His paydays were considerably smaller than they had been as a long-time third for Martin.

"The relationship is still cordial with him,'' said Walchuk, who follows his former skip to the provincial. "There's bound to be ... we want to kick his butt. The bottom line is we had 11 great years together.''

Since allowing third Brent MacDonald to call the game in Yorkton, though, the team's fortunes have turned around.

"We're going, but I don't know where ... no place yet,'' said Walchuk.

"We have a big task in front of us.

"Everybody's there.''

Now, they're in the provincial and on Wednesday will be lining it up in Winnipeg as one of the five Edmonton teams in the year's second Grand Slam.

REAL IMPORTANT

"For us, it's real important,'' said Walchuk. "If we can rattle off a few wins, we'll be good for the rest of the year.''

LAST STRAWS: For the first time since 1996, the Peace District will not have a rep skipped by either Kurt Balderston or Mike Vavrek. ... The Grande Prairie/Sexsmith duo were perennial playoff contenders in all of their 17 appearances and lost four finals between them ... Jeff Ginter of Dawson Creek is fielding a team which includes 1998 finalist Kelly Row throwing second rocks ... The second Peace spot went to Grande Prairie's Rob Maksymetz, who made an impressive debut at the 2006 Alberta Kia Cup ... Calgary's Lloyd Hill and Leon Moch of Medicine Hat qualified from the south.


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