February 13, 2011
Carruthers ‘on top of the world’
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
Jeff Stoughton won his ninth title, Steve Gould grabbed his sixth, and Jon Mead captured his fourth.
For second Reid Carruthers, however, Sunday’s victory over Mike McEwen got him his first Purple Heart.
“I’m the happiest guy in the world right now,” said Carruthers, 26. “I feel like I’m on top of the world.”
This is Carruthers’ first year on the Stoughton squad, while Mead, 43, rejoined the team after a four-year hiatus in which he took a break and also played a relaxed schedule with Wayne Middaugh.
Carruthers has been to a Brier before, but it was as the fifth for Kerry Burtnyk at the 2008 event in Winnipeg.
Stoughton and Gould have now won three provincial titles in a row, which tied the record set by Stoughton’s former lead, Doug Armstrong, between 1998 and 2000. Gould, 38, also moved into second on the career list with his half dozen Manitoba titles.
“It’s pretty special,” he said. “Six times. Amazing.”
CHIN STILL UP: It was only about five minutes after the loss, but McEwen said there’s not much more his team could’ve done and added they will continue to chase that elusive provincial crown.
“It’s hard to say what we need to do better,” McEwen said. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, and hopefully good things will happen in the future.”
Despite their global dominance this winter, McEwen, B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld had to grind all week just to reach Sunday’s final. Mead doesn’t believe they had trouble clearing a mental hurdle, however.
“I just don’t think they played great this week,” Mead said. “Sometimes you get a handle on the ice. We had a great feel for the ice this week, and I don’t think they did. And that’s the toughest thing. It’s not mental.
“Maybe they’re putting a little too much pressure on themselves. I don’t know. They do everything so well. Sometimes you do everything right and you just don’t win.”
EXTRA ENDS: Stoughton and Gould have won five of the last six provincial crowns … Stoughton had a 7-4 record at last year’s Brier and missed the playoffs … Brandon’s Terry McNamee lost Sunday morning’s semifinal 6-3 to McEwen after giving up three single-point steals. “It’s kind of disappointing,” McNamee said, “but we played well all week and I’m very proud of our team.” … The crowds at the Sun Gro Centre were excellent all week.