Reid's 'rejects' advance

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

West Kildonan's Reid Carruthers has skipped a collection of rejects and deserters into his fourth straight men's provincial playdown.

After parting ways with his own squad, Carruthers recruited third Dan Kammerlock when Manitoba champion Kerry Burtnyk cut him and lead Shane Kilgallen, who had quit the Randy Dutiaume team. He then reunited with Derek Samagalski, the second Carruthers once cut himself.

The new foursome sunk St. Vital's Rick Lemoine 6-3 in a city zone A-B final at the Fort Rouge Curling Club yesterday to earn a berth in the 2009 Safeway Championship, to be played in Selkirk, Feb. 18-22.

"It feels good to be going back," said Carruthers, 24. "The other guys are excited, I'm excited. It will be really nice to play close to Winnipeg, too, in Selkirk."

Although the squad has played a more relaxed schedule, it still enjoyed a decent season, earning $7,500 on the World Curling Tour.

Carruthers curled with Kammerlock at the university championships, but it's still been an adjustment for him after playing with the vocal Jason Gunnlaugson.

'GOOD CHARACTER'

"It's a different energy on the ice," Carruthers said. "Gunner tends to get a little excited and showed good character on the ice. Dan is a little more relaxed and more calm. Both are great players."

Kammerlock, 24, helped Burtnyk win the Manitoba title last year and would love to win a second straight.

"(That) would be something special," he said. "That would be pretty amazing. All it takes is for one team to get hot on a certain weekend and you never know what can happen."

Carruthers will warm up for Selkirk by competing in the Grand Slam at the MTS Centre, Jan. 21-25.

Also qualifying through the city zone playdowns were: Pete Nicholls of Deer Lodge, Granite's Bob Sigurdson, Assiniboine Memorial's David Bohn, Brendan Taylor and Doug Riach, both of West Kildonan, and Pembina's Scott Madams.

Qualifying through the rural zones were: Randy Neufeld (La Salle), Daley Peters (Beausejour), Chris Galbraith (Rosser), Ryan Hyde (Portage), Allan Lybrun (Brandon), Murray Warren (Deloraine), and Brent Scales (Swan River). Five rural zone winners were yet to be determined at press time.

After losing the semifinal of the MCT Championship to eventual winner Mike McEwen of Assiniboine Memorial, Taylor, 30, likes his chances in Selkirk.

"I think this is one of the top teams in the province," said Taylor, supported by third Kyle Werenich, second Taren Gesell and Cory Naharnie. "We can definitely compete with any team out there. We just have to keep throwing the rock good and it will be good to play in Selkirk, which is my hometown right now."

There was a lot of grumbling after Madams moved from No. 14 to No. 1 seed because McEwen dropped out after winning a provincial spot at the MCT Championship.

"We got a little lucky with Mike not playing in the zone but hey, it's been all right," said Madams, 29, who recruited Gary Shibita to play third when Doug Harrison was forced out with an ailing knee.

Riach, 48, returns to the provincials after failing to qualify the last two years.

"It's always nice to get back, especially the way we did it," said Riach, who won six straight after losing his first. "Hopefully, we don't cool off."


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