Up and comers contend

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

SELKIRK -- The three musical skips have danced into this morning's qualifiers at the Safeway Championship.

Daley Peters, Dave Boehmer and Reid Carruthers took over new young squads this season and still managed to impress at the men's provincial playdowns.

Peters, who took over the Beausejour team skipped by Carruthers last year, clipped Carberry's Richard Muntain 7-5 at the Selkirk Recreation Complex to advance to one of four championship qualifiers versus Assiniboine Memorial's defending champion Kerry Burtnyk at 8:30 a.m.

Boehmer, who took over the Petersfield rink that Peters left behind, beat St. Vital's Darryl Friesen 8-3 and will face Charleswood's second-seeded Jeff Stoughton.

Carruthers, who may have had the toughest task picking up the pieces of players who split from former teams for various reasons, needed an extra end to edge La Salle's Randy Neufeld 8-7. Carruthers will play Deer Lodge's fourth-ranked Peter Nicholls, who edged Rosser's Chris Galbraith 6-4.

"We were a little disappointed throughout our cashspiel season," admitted Peters, who is calling the shots for third Jason Gunnlaugson, second Justin Richter and Tyler Forrest. "We lost a lot of qualifiers but we've been very competitive in every spiel we played in. We felt we were right there and it was just a matter of putting it together."

In fact, the son of three-time provincial champion Vic Peters believes this foursome is capable of winning this whole affair, flying in the face of expectations that one of top three seeds will win the Manitoba title come Sunday.

"Obviously, they're the top seeds for a reason," said Peters, who won two junior men's provincial championships. "But there's no reason why someone else can't win -- like us for instance. Or Boehmer's team. Boehmer's playing real well right now."

It will help his odds if Peters can knock off Burtnyk, who beat Neepawa's Kelly Robertson 8-4.

Tough

"It'll be tough," admitted Peters, 24. "We'll have to be real sharp against them.

"I'd like to go right at them but my team probably won't let me."

Burtnyk is just starting to get into rhythm.

"We played a pretty solid game and we feel our game's in pretty good shape," he said after downing Robertson. "It was a big game because now we're guaranteed two chances to get into the Final 8 which is sort of Goal No. 1."

Boehmer, who had offered to play third for Peters last season, is starting to get into a groove of his own.

"I like it right now, the way everybody's shooting whereas we were a little bit off the first game," said Boehmer, supported by third Matt Lacroix, second Kyle Einarson and Marc Lacroix (Matt's brother). "But everybody's throwing well now."

Stoughton downed Rorketon's Murray Woodward 8-4 but is still adjusting to the ice.

"We weren't that sharp and I could be a lot better," he said. "It's still early and we're still not comfortable with the ice yet ... But it's so far away from Sunday, it's hilarious."

Meanwhile, West Kildonan's Brendan Taylor upset Assiniboine Memorial's sixth-seeded David Bohn 7-3 to advance to the fourth qualifier versus Assiniboine Memorial's Mike McEwen, the No. 3 seed. McEwen defeated West Kildonan's Doug Riach 8-3.

In other games of note, Neufeld eliminated Swan River's former provincial champion Brent Scales 8-2 and Springfield's Braden Zawada bounced St. Vital's former provincial champ Dave Smith 10-3.

Four more qualifiers will be determined on today's 4 p.m. draw.

The championship round starts tonight at 7:45.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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