Elias earns berth into Safeway field

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:43 PM ET

The similarities are there.

Six years ago, Dave Elias and Shane Kilgallen joined Randy Dutiaume and Greg Melnichuk to form a curling team just before the MCA Bonspiel.

Fifteen consecutive wins later, they were the bonspiel’s grand aggregate winners. Two months after that, they were in the Brier playoffs.

Could this be the sequel to that stunning story?

After two failed attempts to get into the Safeway Championship provincial men’s playdowns earlier this year, Elias decided to skip his own squad and added Kilgallen just before the MCA Bonspiel.

The combination is working, because on Sunday afternoon they beat David Hamblin 5-3 at Fort Garry Curling Club to improve to 7-0 and clinch the first of six berths in the Safeway Championship.

Petersfield’s Dave Boehmer snagged the other berth through the main event on Sunday, downing Brandon’s Rob Fowler 5-1 and improving to 8-0 in the process.

Elias and Boehmer, who went on his own magnificent MCA run in 2003 with 17 wins in a row, will meet in the bonspiel’s championship match at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Grain Exchange.

No matter what happens in that match, they will both be in the Safeway Championship field in Beausejour, Feb. 9-13.

It wasn’t all bad news for Hamblin, however, as he clinched a Safeway berth later on Sunday. He is one of four in the chase for two spots in a secondary main event, but two of those teams already have berths, so Hamblin is in.

Kilgallen, who plays lead, wasn’t ready to admit that this is 2005 all over again for him and Elias.

“No, I don’t know,” he said. “It feels like half of 2005. It was 15 games in a row in 2005.”

Elias also chuckled at the thought.

“We’re not calling out (Mike) McEwen and (Jeff) Stoughton,” he said. “There will be no Rex Ryan trash talk at this point.”

Team Elias, which also includes Chris Suchy and Hub Perrin, scored a game-changing three in the fifth end against Hamblin when the Morris skip was heavy on a draw with his final stone.

That gave Elias a 4-2 lead, and he never looked back.

The furthest Kilgallen would go is admitting that playing well in the MCA bodes well for the Safeway Championship in two weeks.

“We all have the experience of going to the (Safeway),” Kilgallen said. “There’s not going to be any nerves.

“We’re undefeated. We’re playing well. And if you’re playing well in the MCA it’s likely going to carry forward.”


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