The last two provincial men's curling champions will meet in the final of the 2017 Viterra Championship in Portage la Prairie.

Reigning champion Mike McEwen of Fort Rouge will face 2015 champ Reid Carruthers of West St. Paul at Stride Place at 3 p.m.

McEwen, BJ Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld got three in the first end and defeated Trevor Loreth of the Granite 8-2 in the semifinal Sunday morning.

“We weren't going to run them up and down the sheet and wait to go,” said McEwen who will be playing in his fourth straight final. “We wanted to put some pressure on them early and we've been able to do that every time we've had the hammer this event. Kind of put the pressure on them early and then to come back you have to make probably more precise shots and the surface was a little bit different from what they experienced earlier in the week. It was nice we were playing the simpler shots for the rest of the game and it was tough on them.”

“There is always one really good surprise story in the Viterra Championship and I think they're that story this week,” said McEwen on Loreth's great run in Portage la Prairie. “They should be really proud with how far they came.”

Carruthers beat McEwen 4-2 Saturday night in the 1-2 page playoff game.

Today's winner will advance to the Brier in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador next month,

“This is the best provincial championship in the country,” said McEwen. “It's a shame Manitoba can't send two teams. With the format changing next year we might have that opportunity for many years to come with the good crop of guys coming up so that's exciting in that aspect for Manitoba curling. We're going to have a good rep either way. I don't think there is much to choose between our teams with how we're both playing right now. We're going to have a great provincial champion one way or another.”

Loreth, Brad Haight, Ryan Lowdon and Brett Cawson had an amazing run at the 2017 Viterra Championship.

That run came to an end this morning when they lost to the defending champions.

“Totally different experience for us with the camera's and everything,” said Loreth. “Maybe a bit of nerves in the first end. More than anything we just made a bad judgment on the ice and Brad rubbed a guard on that double and it just kind of set the tone for the game. Giving up a three to those guys, even if we were on our game, you're probably not coming back against them. I think if we make that double and get out of that end, it may be a little bit of a closer outcome. The nerves were starting to go away a little bit and I think we would have been able to get it together in two and at least give Mike a bit of a game but those are the breaks.”

It was a memorable week for the Granite foursome.

“Amazing,” said Loreth. “Everything from a first class run event by Portage. This is my seventh one and hands down has been the best one I've been to. Not only because of the results. We said it opening night, from the banquet, to the volunteers, to everybody and then get hot like we did - it was pretty cool.”

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Scoreboard

Friday, March 24th

MMJHL
Stonewall 6 Pembina Valley 3
(1st game in best of 7 semifinal)

MJHL
Steinbach 5 Portage 4
(1st game in best of 7 semifinal)

Allan Cup Playdowns
Manitoba/Saskatchewan Series
SE Prairie Thunder 4 Rosetown 3
(1st game in best of 5 series)

WHL
Eastern Conference
Medicine Hat 7 Brandon 2
(1st game in best of 7 quarterfinal)

AHL
Milwaukee 3 Manitoba 1

NHL
Anaheim 3 Winnipeg 1
N.Y. Islanders 4 Pittsburgh 3 (SO)
Tampa Bay 2 Detroit 1 (OT)
Dallas 6 San Jose 1

NBA
Denver 125 Indiana 117
Cleveland 112 Charlotte 105
Washington 129 Brooklyn 108
Orlando 115 Detroit 87
Boston 130 Phoenix 120
Houston 117 New Orleans 107
Milwaukee 100 Altanta 97
Philadelphia 117 Chicago 107
L.A. Lakers 130 Minnesota 119 (OT)
Golden State 114 Sacramento 100

Saturday, March 25th

SEMHL
Portage at Notre Dame, 8 p.m.
(best of 7 final tied 2-2)

MJHL
OCN at Winkler, 7:30 p.m.
(1st game in best of 7 semifinal)

WHL
Eastern Conference
Brandon at Medicine Hat, 8:30 p.m.
(Tigers lead best of 7 quarterfinal 1-0)

Allan Cup Playdowns
Manitoba/Saskatchewan Series
SE Prairie Thunder vs Rosetown
@ Max Bell arena in Wpg, 5 p.m.
(Thunder lead best of 5 series 1-0)

NHL
Vancouver at Minnesota, 1 p.m.
Philadelphia at Columbus, 1 p.m.
Arizona at Washington, 6 p.m.
Boston at N.Y. Islanders, 6 p.m.
Toronto at Buffalo, 6 p.m.
Calgary at St. Louis, 6 p.m.
Chicago at Florida, 6 p.m.
Ottawa at Montreal, 6 p.m.
Carolina at New Jersey, 6 p.m.
San Jose at Nashville, 7 p.m.
Colorado at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
N.Y. Rangers at Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m.

NBA
Utah at Detroit, 2:30 p.m.
Washington at Cleveland, 6:30 p.m.
Toronto at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
New York at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota at Portland, 9 p.m.

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