Bounce-back win!

Saskatchewan’s Mike McEwen is heading into Page 3v4 game following a win on Friday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Team Saskatchewan remains alive in chase for Montana’s Brier title

The presence of legendary Ernie Richardson in the building may have something to do with it, but Team Saskatchewan still has plenty of life at the Montana’s Brier.

Team Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), skipped by Manitoba import Mike McEwen, rolled to a 7-0 sudden-death victory Friday over Team Northwest Territories (Yellowknife), skipped by Jamie Koe, in a Page 3v4 qualifier game at the 2024 Montana’s Brier, presented by AGI, in Regina.

The win kept Team Saskatchewan alive in the chase for the Canadian men’s curling championship and pencilled it in to meet Team Manitoba-Dunstone (Winnipeg) on Saturday in the Page 3v4 game.

The Manitoba-based team, skipped by Matt Dunstone, also advanced to the 3v4 game with a 6-2 win over Team Manitoba-Carruthers (Winnipeg), skipped by Brad Jacobs, Canada’s 2014 Olympic gold medal winner.

Both losing teams in the 3v4 qualifiers were eliminated from the competition, which opened last Friday with 18 teams. 

Earlier in the day, Team Canada and Team Alberta-Bottcher advanced to the Page 1v2 game with victories in qualifying games. They play Saturday evening with the winner advancing to the gold-medal final Sunday.

Team Saskatchewan bolted from the starting gate, stealing singles in six of the first seven ends, and then coasted to the finish line, much to the delight of a large crowd at the Brandt Centre.

“I’m very excited to be playing tomorrow,” said McEwen, who finished first in his pool with a 7-1 record before losing to Calgary’s Team Alberta-Bottcher, skipped by Brendan Bottcher, in the first round of qualifying. “Not quite how we drew it up. Would have loved to win this one earlier today but we’re still breathing and that’s all you ask for right now.

“You need to separate the result from the performance. Yes we won 7-0 but there’s still things to tighten up. We gave Jamie opportunities and fortunately he didn’t convert on any of them. We didn’t have the weight control we would have liked to have. Pick apart those little things that we’re going to do better tomorrow.”

Matt Dunstone of Manitoba is aiming to improve on his silver-medal performance last year at London, Ont. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Team Saskatchewan is trying to win the first Montana’s Brier for the prairie province since Team Rick Folk did it in 1980.

It would be the eighth title for a Saskatchewan team at the Montana’s Brier, half of them won by the great Ernie Richardson’s Regina team (1959, 1960, 1962 and 1963). Richardson has spent some time watching this year’s event at the Brandt Centre.

The loss ended a wonderful run for Team Northwest Territories and its skip Koe, who was playing in his 17th Canadian men’s championship.

McEwen was also celebrating his choice as the first team all-star skip.

“It’s something I’ve never done,” he said. “I think that validates how I’m feeling, how I’m playing. Probably best I’ve played in five years so nice to see the ducks kind of lining up with the percentages.”

Team Dunstone kept Team Carruthers off the scoreboard for the first six ends in building up a 3-0 lead. Whenever Team Carruthers had something going, Dunstone had an answer. He threw a blistering runback double in the fifth that blew up a promising end for Team Carruthers and led to a steal.

“Still a long ways to go,” said Dunstone, who lost last year’s final in London, Ont. “Obviously feels good into the Page playoffs. We’re climbing the mountain still, have been for a few days but to still be alive and we’re playing very well. Good enough to win this thing and this team believes we can.”

Dunstone admitted he won’t have many fans Saturday playing against Team Saskatchewan.

“I’m going to be on the other side of the green jacket this time,” he said. “I’m really excited for tomorrow, to be playing Saskatchewan in Saskatchewan, obviously a province I represented for five years. Probably going to be a bit of a surreal moment. Mikey has done a great job with his crew this week. I think it’s going to be quite the battle.”

The Sunday’s gold-medal winner will represent Canada at the LGT World Men’s Curling Championship, March 30 to April 7, in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

The 2024 Montana’s Brier continues Saturday with the Page 3v4 game at 1 p.m. and the Page 1v2 game at 7 p.m. (all times Central Standard).

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2024 Montana’s Brier are available at

TSN and RDS will provide complete coverage of the 2024 Montana’s Brier. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule. Live coverage is also available for international streaming on TSN’s YouTube channel.

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at

Curling Canada