Brad Haight didn't know Randy Neufeld had lost.
Haight actually backed into the grand aggregate title at the MCA Bonspiel without having to win his main event final last night when Dave Smith defeated Neufeld 7-3. But on the ice, during an intense battle with Petersfield's Dave Boehmer -- which Haight won 7-6 in an extra end -- the St. Vital skip had no way of knowing he had already won.
"It feels pretty darn good," Haight said after celebrating with his squad -- Trevor Loreth, Ryan Lowdon and Ryan Duncan. "We were definitely more concerned about winning the aggregate than winning this main (event). We obviously didn't know that Neufeld lost so we were playing our hearts out."
Boehmer scored one in the 10th to send the game into an extra end.
"We played the extra end pretty darn good and that's all you can hope for as a skip -- that your boys will leave you the four-foot wide open and that's what they did," said Haight.
Haight's squad, which will head to the Safeway Championship next month in Dauphin, won 12 straight games in the spiel before dropping one to Neufeld on Tuesday. Then they won two more yesterday to clinch the grand aggie. If local curlers didn't have their hate-on for Haight before, they might now.
"We've been knocking on the door for a while now and it's just a matter of putting that many games together in a row," said Haight.
Boehmer lost his final game but he did manage to clinch a provincial berth.
"It had been such a ho-hum kind of year," the skip said after beating Portage's Scott McFadyen (with MP Brian Pallister as skip) yesterday. "It would have really been the worst not making it to Dauphin. To make it is a big accomplishment for us this year."
After Boehmer was upset by Jesse McCullough's West Kildonan squad to be bumped from one major event, the skip was forced to beat some pretty good teams like Randy Neufeld and Randy Dutiaume (who already have provincial spots) to stay alive.
A little nerve-wracking, no?
"Yeah it is," said Boehmer. "Especially when you're playing teams that already have a berth and when you play them they don't have a care in the world. They have no pressure when they throw.
"I said to Randy Neufeld 'This isn't fair! We're playing for our lives and you're sitting here all la dee da, calling what you want, gambling if you want to.'"
Still, Boehmer beat the Randys by a combined score of 15-4.
"If this is any indication of how we're going to play in Dauphin, I really like what's happening," said Boehmer. "... If we lose here our year's pretty much over. Now our season continues and, with a little luck, maybe it can continue after the (Safeway Championship)."
Valour Road's Dave Smith, meanwhile, dropped the first game in the MCA before storming back.
"We hadn't been playing too well up until that point," admitted Smith's third Don Nelson yesterday. "We'd lost a couple games in the zone quick and that first one (in the MCA) but from there, everything's been clicking."
Smith, who won the province in 1994, won seven straight after the opening loss including a 4-3 win over Howie Restall which clinched a Safeway spot for the foursome.
Others to qualify for the Safeway Championship were Steinbach's Russell Kihn, Fort Rouge's Craig White, Arborg's Wes Jonasson and Restall -- who beat Brad Edwards 7-4 in a playoff for the spot yesterday.