Not the Olys but it will do

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

For those who wondered if Mike McEwen and his rink might not be motivated after watching their Olympic dreams for 2010 dashed by a fellow Manitoban, worry no longer.

McEwen's foursome put the disappointment of failing to advance to the Roar of the Rings in Edmonton behind them -- at least temporarily -- by capturing the World Curling Tour's Sun Life Financial Invitational Curling Classic in Brantford, Ont., with a 6-5 victory over Martin Ferland of Quebec yesterday.

With the win, McEwen and his team of B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld pocket a check for $24,000.

"It's the first World Curling Tour win for us as a team and personally, for myself as a skip," McEwen said from Ontario before boarding a plane bound for Winnipeg. "We're a team that seems to qualify every weekend but we're not really known for closing out events. For ourselves this gives us the confidence we can finish off events and win championships that really matter. Hopefully that's a trend that continues in our careers now.

"It takes a little bit of the sting out of last weekend. Not completely though, but a little bit."

The weekend McEwen is referring to was a missed opportunity at the Road to the Roar pre-Olympic trials in Prince George, B.C. where his rink was eliminated by Jason Gunnlaugson of Beausejour 8-7 in an extra end.

A win would have put Mc-Ewen's foursome into the Roar of the Rings in Edmonton early next month, but instead they are left thinking about trying again four years down the road.

After a debriefing, McEwen and company re-adjusted their goals for the season and got things going in the right direction with a big win in Brantford.

"Our big goal now is to represent our province in the Brier," said McEwen. "We're certainly going to do everything we can to do that."

McEwen finished the round robin with a record of 5-2, with his only losses coming against Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton and to Jean-Michel Menard of Quebec.

But McEwen regrouped to beat Stoughton 7-3 in the quarter-final and ousted Menard with a 5-3 in the semis to put him in the championship game.

Ferland started with the hammer and pulled ahead quickly, scoring a deuce in the first and building a 4-1 advantage after three ends.

But McEwen cut into the deficit by scoring one in the fourth and stealing one in the fifth to put the pressure on.

"They were lying three in the house and I came through a port and tapped things around just enough so I was shot," said McEwen, referring to the fifth end. "He had a really, really difficult in-off to get me out of there and that was a big turning point to steal that one. If he had made a good shot, it could have been handshakes."

A steal of two in the sixth gave McEwen his first lead of the game and after Ferland evened the score with one in the seventh, McEwen put the game away by scoring a single in the eighth end to secure the title.

LOOSE STRAWS: Assiniboine Memorial's David Bohn edged Dave Elias of West Kildonan 8-7 in an extra end to win the men's final at the Manitoba Curling Tour's Interlake Pharmacy Classic, last night in Stonewall.

Meanwhile, defending overall MCT women's champ Chelsea Carey of Morden dumped Janet Harvey of Assiniboine Memorial 7-2 to take the women's title.

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca


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