One of Lionel Walz's greatest claims to curling fame is that he played a role in Randy Dutiaume's remarkable Brier run in 2005.
Walz knocked Dutiaume to the B-side of their Safeway Select zone playdowns in January of that year. Dutiaume then got knocked out on the B-side and decided to change his team for the MCA Bonspiel.
Dutiaume's new-look foursome earned a berth in the Select through the MCA, won the Select and then finished third at the Brier.
"We always kid Randy that we beat him to knock him out of that," Walz said yesterday.
If Walz keeps it up, he may soon be wearing a Buffalo on his jacket just like Dutiaume.
The Pembina skip ran his record to 5-1 last night and clinched a playoff spot with a 6-5 win over Granite's Gary Gumprich at the provincial senior men's championship at Fort Rouge Curling Club.
Top seed Brian Moffatt of Brandon, also 5-1, clinched the other playoff spot in Walz's pool. Walz has the edge going into this morning's final round robin action, however, because he beat Moffatt on Friday.
Therefore, if Walz beats Springfield's Keith McLeod (2-4) today he will play in the 1-vs-1 Page playoff game.
Walz has won a couple of Pembina club championships in his career, but nothing as illustrious as a provincial title.
"You curl your whole life and you get to the seniors level, it's a nice opportunity," Walz said. "We've had the opportunity before, made the playoffs once in the four times I've been, so, yeah, it'd be pretty nice.
"But we've got some games to play yet."
Just like Dutiaume did two years ago, Walz is making his impressive run with a new team. Dewar McKinnon and Bruce Elliott departed in an amicable split and were replaced by third Bill Menzies and lead Brian DeRiviere. Laurie Leclair stayed on at second.
"We've really come together," Walz said. "We played in a bonspiel just before we came here, and when you get quite a few games in you play pretty consistent.
"When you're two-night-a-week curlers -- and a few bonspiels -- it's nice to play consistent, and we're doing that."
The other round-robin group was a little more muddled going into last night's late action. Brandon's Jim Renwick was in first at 4-1, with Carman's Bill North, Valour Road's John Bubbs and Minnedosa's Lee Robins all at 3-2.
If tiebreakers are needed, they will be played at 4 p.m. today. The 1-vs-1 and 2-vs-2 games are slated for 7:45 p.m., and the final goes tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.
MEANWHILE: The usual suspects owned the best five records going into last night's late action at the provincial senior women's curling championship in Altona.
In the Black Group, Minnedosa's Jean Garbolinsky was 5-0, followed by St. Vital's Elaine Jones at 4-1.
In the Red Group, Morris' Chris Scalena, Fort Rouge's Linda Van Daele and Brandon's Lois Fowler each sported 5-1 marks.