Respect is earned

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

SELKIRK -- Some have already dubbed Brendan Taylor the Cinderella team of this year's Safeway Championship.

But he was talking more like Rodney Dangerfield.

Taylor's unheralded West Kildonan squad upset Assiniboine Memorial's third-seeded Mike McEwen 7-6 in an extra end at the Selkirk Recreation Complex yesterday to advance to the playoff round.

"I haven't gotten the exposure of the other guys," said Taylor, supported by third Kyle Werenich, second Taren Gesell and Cory Naharnie. "But it's kind of funny how they forgot about pretty much my whole team. I can see how they leave me out ... but I'd like to see my guys get more respect because they're definitely good shooters and topnotch players."

'Hungry'

Taylor was seeded No. 11 by his peers, which seemed to rankle him.

"I won't say anything but it's pretty funny how No. 11's doing pretty good," Taylor said with a laugh.

"I'm not really thinking Cinderella, I just know three guys on my team lost a final so, they're hungry to win this thing," said Taylor, 30. "We know what it takes to win and I'm confident in these guys and I'm confident, too."

Both Werenich, 30, and Naharnie, 32, played for Ryan Fry when he lost the 2005 Manitoba final to Randy Dutiaume right here in Selkirk. Gesell, 27, played second for Peter Nicholls when he lost the 2007 final to Charleswood's Jeff Stoughton. Taylor also lost the one-one playoff to Stoughton while playing third for Chris Galbraith in 2006.

"I knew we were capable of doing it, we just had to play well," said Taylor, who was born in Kenora but now lives in Selkirk. "We're as good as anybody out here on any given day ... I'm very confident that we can win. We've got a very good team."

Since moving to Manitoba, Taylor has also played for Brandon's Terry McNamee and Winnipeg's Sean Grassie.

"I've paid my dues and now I've got to earn my respect in these kinds of games," he said.

Taylor also avenged a loss to McEwen at the Manitoba Curling Tour Championship.

"We had the lead and let him back in and take the game," he said. "So, it was good to even the score.

"But that was our first goal, to qualify, and we'll see where it goes from here take it from here."

Taylor was playing Granite's Bob Sigurdson in the first round of the playoffs last night. Sigurdson qualified through the B side by pasting Petersfield's Dave Boehmer 8-1.

Also qualifying through the A side were Assiniboine Memorial's defending champion Kerry Burtnyk, Stoughton and Nicholls, now out of Deer Lodge.

Burtnyk beat Beausejour's Daley Peters 7-5; Stoughton sunk Boehmer 8-4; and Nicholls crunched West Kildonan's Reid Carruthers 9-3.

"Daley's playing well and they've got a great, young team," said Burtnyk, who was playing Carruthers last night. "We knew we'd have our hands full and certainly did ... Those guys will be tough to beat in the next game.

"We're happy we're in the eights now and we're ready for the next step, the start of a new bonspiel (championship round)."

Carruthers qualified by overwhelming La Salle's Randy Neufeld 6-2 on the B side.

"This is where you want to get to," said Stoughton, who was facing McEwen. "You play to keep playing the next day ... Every game gets you further along and closer to Sunday so that's what we want to do."

McEwen qualified by downing Hamiota's Kelly Skinner 5-2.

Nicholls was battling Peters who beat Brandon's William Lyburn 6-4.

Tonight's four winners advance to today's 9 a.m. A-side qualifiers.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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