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Team McEwen pulls off big win in Portage

Team Brad Jacobs started the 2014-2015 season where they left off last year. After a season of unprecedented success that included an Olympic gold medal, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., foursome won 17 of their first 19 games to start the new season, launching them into first place in the Canadian Team Ranking System standings.

Skip Mike McEwen, left, along with teammates Matt Wozniak, middle,  Denni Neufeld, right, and B.J. Neufeld (not pictured) won the Canad Inns Men’s Classic in Portage la Prairie, Man. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Skip Mike McEwen, left, along with teammates Matt Wozniak, middle, Denni Neufeld, right, and B.J. Neufeld (not pictured) won the Canad Inns Men’s Classic in Portage la Prairie, Man. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

This week, however, the Olympic champs came back down to earth, and Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen took full advantage.

McEwen, and his team of B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld, took home the crown at the Canad Inns Men’s Classic in Portage la Prairie, Man., taking down Calgary’s Kevin Koe in the final.

Aside from $18,000, the win also comes with 40 CTRS points, enough to vault Team McEwen past Jacobs, and into first place on this year’s CTRS rankings. Koe earns 25 points, which moves him into sixth place.

Jacobs, on the other hand, failed to qualify for the playoff round for the first time this season. Although Team Jacobs won two games, losses to McEwen, Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton and China’s Jialiang Zang sewered its playoff hopes, and shut it out of the points. Team Jacobs does, however, maintain a healthy lead in the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit standings, and is ranked first based on performance over a two-year period. McEwen is second on that list, which determines entries to Grand Slam events.

Glenn Howard of Penetaguishene, Ont., and Willium Lyburn of Winnipeg reached the semifinals, and each took home 20 CTRS points.

There were several events on the women’s schedule this weekend; the largest being the Hub International Crown of Curling in Kamloops, B.C. For the second time in three weeks, Japan’s Ayumi Ogasawara claimed a B.C. bonspiel title (she also won Vernon’s Prestige Hotels and Resorts Curling Classic). This time she defeated Kelowna, B.C.’s Kelly Scott in the final.

Across the country, Toronto’s Julie Hastings (backed up by Christy Trombley, Stacey Smith and Katrina Collins)  beat Sherry Middaugh (Coldwater, Ont.) in the final of the Sleeman Stroud Cash Spiel, in Stroud, Ont. For Hastings, it was her second bonspiel win on the season, and the fifth event in which she’s recorded CTRS points. With the 5.7 points earned, she moves into fourth place on this year’s rankings, just over 10 points behind Middaugh, who sits in third.

Ottawa’s Colin Dow (third Ritchie Gillan, second Brett Lyon-Hatcher, lead John Steski) won the men’s title in Stroud, beating London’s Scott McDonald 5-4 in the final.

Other notes:

— Brent Pierce (Kelowna, B.C.; third Jeff Richard, second Tyler Orme, lead David Harper) defeated Sean Geall (New Westminster, B.C.) in the men’s final of the Hub International Crown of Curling in Kamloops.

— Lethbridge, Alta.’s Casey Scheidegger (third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Scheidegger, lead Brittany Tran) took down Brett Barber (Biggar, Sask.) in the Medicine Hat Charity Classic women’s final. Calgary’s Sean O’Connor (third Vance Elder, second Ryan O’Connor, lead Dan Bubola) took home $9,000 for beating Regina’s Scott Bitz in the men’s division final.

-In an all-Winnipeg final, Janet Harvey (third Cherie-Ann Sheppard, second Kristin Napier, lead Carey Kirby) beat Colleen Kilgallen to take top prize at the 2014 Atkins Curling Supplies Women’s Classic.

It’s another busy weekend upcoming, with men’s events in Gatineau, Que., Airdrie, Alta., Moose Jaw, Sask. Champery, Switzerland, and Bemidji, Minn. The women have a major event in Portage la Prairie and Edmonton.

Keep an eye on curling.ca for live scores from all WCT events.

For updated CTRS standings, click here for the men’s standings and click here for the women’s standings.