February 9, 2012
Dunstone has 'put away' 2007 Manitoba final
By JIM BENDER, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - It was back in 2007 but ‘Dino’ remembers it like yesterday.
With Peter Nicholls calling the shots and throwing third stones, and Dean Dunstone the last brick, it was the closest Dunstone has ever come to capturing the men’s provincial crown. And it was in Dauphin where the Safeway Championship is being held this year, for the first time since that unforgettable loss.
“I remember waking up on the Sunday morning and telling Pete, ‘We just have to beat (Kerry) Burtnyk and (Jeff) Stoughton and then, we’re going to the Brier,’” Dunstone recalled from Dauphin shortly after defeating West Kildonan’s Dave Elias 7-4. “Well, we beat Burtnyk so, we got half the job done.”
Actually, they also gave Stoughton a good run for his money in the final.
“We were up 3-1 after five, but he made that great shot in nine that put us away,” said Dunstone.
He remembers that game fondly, not bitterly.
“It’s still a good memory,” Dunstone said. “Our chances against Stoughton aren’t very good but that game could have gone either way. But I’ve put it away.”
Dunstone has since parted ways with Nicholls and is skipping a new squad with Ken Tresoor at third, has reunited with second Taren Gesell, and Greg Melnichuk.
“Yeah, I’ve got a good crew,” Dunstone said. “Greg has been to the Brier (with Randy Dutiaume in 2005) and Taren was with me in 2007. And Kenny Tresoor is totally consistent and always does what I want him to do. He’s the most underrated third out there. He’s still just as good as he always was.”
Tresoor, you may recall, played third for Stoughton when he won his first Brier — and world championship — back in 1996.
“The boys are playing really well,” said Dunstone, who has advanced to a Friday morning playoff qualifier against Fort Rouge’s Mike McEwen.
“Yeah, the No. 1 team in the world and we’re really looking forward to that,” Dunstone said sincerely.
Even if his seventh-seeded squad loses to McEwen, Dunstone will have another crack at qualifying for the playoffs on the afternoon draw.
“That’s why that game (against) Elias was so important,” Dunstone said. “It gives us another chance on the B side.
“And I think we’ll be there Sunday this year as well.”
Dunstone has long been known as one of the game’s better shooters despite the fact that he seldom plays outside of the province, if ever. But he still believes he can win this whole shebang.
“It would be fulfilling something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Dunstone, 43. “I’ve come close in men’s and I’ve lost a (Manitoba) junior final (to Brent Braemer). But time’s running out. I think I’ve got four or five years left. Then, I look at Stoughton, who’s still playing so well that it gives me hope.”
Stoughton, who is 48, also advanced to a Friday morning playoff qualifier versus Neepawa’s surprising Jerry Chudley when his top-seeded Charleswood crew sunk Ste. Anne’s Murray Woodward 7-1.
McEwen, the No. 2 seed at the championship, advanced by beating Brandon’s Kelly Skinner 7-2.
There will be two other rather intriguing matches on the morning draw. Brandon’s third-seeded Rob Fowler will face Deer Lodge’s sixth-seeded Sean Grassie, and Deer Lodge’s fourth-ranked William Lyburn will play West Kildonan’s fifth-seeded Daley Peters.
Yes, it still looks like Stoughton and McEwen are on a collision course, but the rest of those still in the running have not abandoned all hope.