YORKTON - It was a perfect SaskTel Tankard Provincial Championships for Team McEwen.
The foursome, with Mike McEwen at the helm went a perfect 7-0 including a 7-3 win over the team skipped by Rylan Kleiter at the event hosted in Saskatoon.
The game went McEwen’s way from the outset as he took two with the hammer in the first end, then stole one in the second end, and two more in the third for an early 5-0 lead.
“I can’t really think of too many final games that went so well, so early. That’s dreamy as far as a finals go,” McEwen told Yorkton This Week.
After the third end it was just keeping an even keel the rest of the way, or as McEwen stated, avoiding “careless mistakes to bleed the lead away.”
McEwen was also quick to credit his team -- Colton Flasch at third, Kevin Marsh at second, and Daniel Marsh at lead -- with the final win, and the perfect record on the week.
He said the Tankard win was testament “to just how well the guys played in front of me,” adding early in the week they were the steadying force as he himself found his game.
In the end McEwen said it did feel like it was their own effort that was going to determine things because “of how well we played.”
The key was being ready for the Tankard.
“We felt we did a lot of good things,” said McEwen tipping his hat to Brent Laing, who the skip said is a “really good steadying force . . . He keeps us accountable.”
Having Laing on board allowed the rest of the team to focus on the ice alone.
“He kind of frees you up to just go play,” said McEwen.
As good as things went at the Tankard the team still has things it hopes to improve upon.
“We’re still working on things, although we felt we did a really good job of doing a lot of the little things well through the week,” said McEwen.
There was some definite icing on the cake for McEwen himself, as he made history being the first skip to lead a team to three different provincial titles. The earlier wins came in Ontario and Manitoba.
“It’s kind of a weird stat,” said McEwen.
McEwen noted it was a rather “unique set of circumstances that set me on the course to play for three different provinces,” and have success in each “I think it’s kind of cool.”
The McEwen rink will now represent Saskatchewan at the 2024 Montana’s Brier in Regina March 1-10.
The team goes into the Brier with each member having been there before, so they have more experience to draw upon than might be obvious, said McEwen.
While McEwen said the team felt as though they were favourites at the Tankard, at the Brier he said there will be “four, or five co-favourites” and they aren’t likely an obvious one of those teams.
“There’s at least four or five teams that could win the Brier in the field,” he offered.
Being an underdog is something McEwen said is not a bad thing.
“I think we’re a scary underdog. It’s a good title. A good thing,”
McEwen said when the team in front of him is in the groove “we can be a pretty good scary team.”
Team McEwen does have one thing in its favour other teams will not, playing in Regina, which makes them the home team, which will mean some pressure, but also fan support.
The key will be consistent play from day one in Regina.
“Every game has such playoff implications. You really do need to play well throughout the whole event,” said McEwen.
A win of course would be monster for the province which has not won a Brier since Rick Folk in 1980.
“I would by lying if I said I haven’t thought about it. It of course has crossed by mind,” said McEwen, who added he really doesn’t need any more motivation than he has long had. “I’m still chasing the boyhood dream of winning a Brier.”