Mike McEwen was as shocked as the crowd on hand at the Archie Browning Arena on Saturday night.
The Winnipeg skip made quick work of 2012 Brier and world champion Glenn Howard in the quarter-finals of the Victoria Curling Classic, walking off Sheet 4 with a 6-1 triumph in just four ends.
Of course, a steal of four in the third end, followed by a theft of one in the fourth, will do that to a guy.
“I don’t know if he had a matched set of rocks or if he hit a tricky spot in the ice,” said McEwen. “Even I was fooled by what happened with the steal of four, then the steal of one. I thought he had made the shot out of his hand and it wasn’t even close.”
Facing a pile of granite in the third, Howard was attempting to draw in for one and ended up wrecking up front.
“Glenn is going to make that just about all the time and he was light and wrecked on the guard,” said a stunned McEwen, who has looked good here in Victoria, to no one’s surprise as the third-best team on the World Curling Tour’s money list this season. “In retrospect, he might have had to go a little wider on a piece of ice that was a little different.”
McEwen’s lone loss this week was a 7-5 extra-end defeat to Sweden’s Niklas Edin.
“We were a little shaky the first couple of games. We let one go against Edin and that was a bit of a wakeup call,” said McEwen. “We probably needed that because the extra game didn’t hurt us. We got a better feel for the ice against [Kevin] Martin.”
That was a 7-3 win in six ends in the B-event qualifier on Friday.
McEwen then made quick work of Howard, who was without his regular lead Craig Savill, who remained at home and was replaced by Peter Steski.
“It’s nice to get one of these,” said McEwen. “You’re not going to get one of these where a guy like Glenn gives you a game like that, really quick.”
In other quarter-final play, Martin gave up a five-ender to Edin in a 7-5 loss to Sweden’s representative at the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship that begins next weekend in Victoria.
Jeff Stoughton took care of Rob Fowler 5-3 in an all-Manitoba matchup and Brad Gushue of Newfoundland dumped Switzerland’s Sven Michel, who will also play next weekend, 6-4.
McEwen will face Gushue in the semifinals this morning at 10 with Edin facing Stoughton. The championship game, with a $25,000 top prize, will go at 2 p.m.
“Brad is a hell of a player and Sven is a heck of a player as well,” said McEwen.
“Brad is always tough to beat.”
Tickets are available at the door for today’s final action.
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