Coffee talk turning wonders for Kammerlock

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

BRANDON -- The Big Three is down to one -- thanks to a couple of the young guns.

Kerry Burtnyk is the only one of the top-three seeds to make it to today at the Manitoba men's curling championship.

Defending champ Jeff Stoughton and No. 3 Vic Peters were unceremoniously dumped from the competition yesterday, leaving David Bohn and Mike McEwen to battle Burtnyk for a coveted trip to the Winnipeg Brier, next month.

Bohn rolled, undefeated, straight into today's 2 p.m. final by defeating Burtnyk in last night's 1 vs. 2 game. He'll face the winner of this morning's Burtnyk/McEwen semi-final.

"It's pretty unreal right now," the 32-year-old Bohn said after an 8-5 win over Burtnyk, who's a four-time provincial champ. "But it's not over, yet. We're not letting our guard down."

Nobody was counting Burtnyk out, either. Least of all, himself.

"Well regroup and come back," the former Brier and world champ said. "We're two wins away. We control our own destiny."

PAYING OFF: This is the reason Dan Kammerlock was so excited that February day, two years ago.

Burtnyk, a man who'd won a Brier with Kammerlock's dad two decades earlier, was coming out of retirement. And he wanted Kammerlock, just one year out of junior, to be his third.

"It took me about 2.2 seconds to say yes," Kammerlock said yesterday, still somewhat giddy at the recollection. "I'm thinking this is the opportunity of a lifetime."

Some 24 months later, the Burtnyk-Kammerlock combination rolled into the final four at the provincial men's championship, before losing their first game last night.

Still, they're two wins from a trip to the Brier.

Exactly what Kammerlock envisioned when he signed up.

"It's pretty cool," he said. "Not many people get the opportunity early on in their curling careers to play with a guy like that. I'm obviously never going to take this for granted."

FAMILY AFFAIR: Last night's elimination game between McEwen and Peters featured brothers BJ and Denni Neufeld of the McEwen team knocking their dad, Chris (Peters' second) out of the bonspiel.

"If it can't be me, why not them?" Chris Neufeld said, admitting he had mixed feelings about the loss. "I'll have a lot of pride watching them (today)."

DON'T PEEK: Bohn had the unenviable task of taking on second-seeded Burtnyk in last night's 1 vs. 2 game, hours after handing Stoughton his first loss.

Talk about a potentially intimidating day.

"I never look at the face," Bohn said. "You can only control your own rocks."

THE BEST: The all-star team includes Bohn, Kammerlock, Richard Deneault (Burtnyk's second) and Keith Fenton (Peters' lead).This is the reason Dan Kammerlock was so excited that February day, two years ago.\


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