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McEwen edges Dunstone in extra end at Princess Auto Players’ Championship

TORONTO — Mike McEwen and his Saskatoon squad are still undefeated in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship after solving Winnipeg’s Team Matt Dunstone 6-5 in an extra end Thursday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

McEwen moved up to a 3-0 record in the Grand Slam of Curling season finale, but his club’s path is still to be determined with two games Friday against Team James Craik in the morning followed by Team Yannick Schwaller in the evening.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion McEwen said his mindset now is rest up with a pivotal day ahead.

“Getting the win feels amazing,” McEwen said. “It was entertaining. I personally feel I didn’t play well until the last couple of ends. Honestly, the guys in front of me were solid. It probably took me six, seven ends to figure out how to throw it because things have changed today, right? The rocks are sharper, it’s raining outside, so the conditions changed. I was throwing it like I needed to yesterday and it took me more than half the game to throw it like I needed to today.

“I got a little fortunate that the guys played well in front of me because sometimes you don’t have that luxury for your skip to turn it on until the sixth or seventh end. I was just fortunate the guys played so well.”

With Dunstone sitting shot rock for a potential steal, McEwen’s shooter avoided the dangerously close guard to connect on the hit. McEwen said you will not see him throw a shot like that wide very often as he tends to use his margin of error pretty tight with third Colton Flasch sweeping the rock.

“Those shots, honestly, I want to see them made where he has to sweep 50 to 75 per cent the way down the ice,” McEwen explained. “To me, I had thrown it how I wanted to. If I make that shot and there’s no sweep all the way down the ice, I probably actually didn’t throw it as good as I would have planned. So yeah, out-turn, Colton in tight, 50 to 75 per cent sweep, that’s my margin of error, that’s where I’m going to make a ton of shots throwing it like that and that’s I what I think it looked like.”

“It’s interesting because Colton is a game-changing type player and there’s many other big players out there that are like that and I’m sure skips think the same way I do,” he added. “I have my big guy on the inside, sometimes you’re Italy and you’ve got big guys everywhere. … It’s a natural instinct to throw it like that. It’s not something that’s an overthought. You don’t want to do that when you’re throwing like, ‘Oh I’ve got to be tight.’ No. That’s not what it is for me. It has become a natural instinct to do that and that’s what you want it to be.”

It was Dunstone (1-3) who opened the match with the hammer but was unable to convert for a multi-point score to start as he had to settle for a single in the second end.

Dunstone came up just short on his last in the third to give McEwen the opportunity to draw for a deuce and a 2-1 lead.

The teams exchanged pairs of points in the fifth and sixth, and McEwen took a two-point advantage in the seventh after Dunstone conceded one.

Dunstone was looking at the tying two points in the eighth, with the potential for three and the win, however, a jam at the back prevented that from happening and forced overtime.

McEwen, who is from Winnipeg, has had memorable matchups against Dunstone since his opponent was still in juniors and offered up quite the praise.

“He sees the game so well. He’s a fun guy to watch and a fun guy to play against,” McEwen said. “Honestly, I love seeing that. He’s somebody that I saw come up through the junior ranks, take his hard knocks, really put his nose [down] and ground it out.

“He found some opportunities out west [in Saskatchewan] and then came back but really he’s a guy that went and got his experience and loved the game so much to go find that because it is a tough road out of juniors. Not yet, we’re working on that as a country, but there’s not yet a clear pathway to success. It’s getting better but he really loved the game so much that he went and found the path and I’ve got to respect that 100 per cent.”

PRINCESS AUTO PLAYERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP: Live Scores | Draw Schedule | Broadcast Schedule

Elsewhere in Draw 10, Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat (3-1) scored a 7-5 win over Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin (1-2).

In women’s play, South Korea’s Team Eun-Jung Kim (3-1) stole the winning point in the eighth end for a 4-3 decision against Winnipeg’s Team Kaitlyn Lawes (0-3).

Lawes looked to hit and stick around with the last rock of the game, however, her shooter rolled away.

Team Isabella Wranå (3-1) grabbed an 8-7 win against Team Anna Hasselborg (1-2) in an all-Swedish showdown.


The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with Draw 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET. Watch live on Sportsnet West, Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet+ (Canada) and (international).


The Princess Auto Players’ Championship is the fifth and final Grand Slam of Curling event of the 2023-24 season featuring the top 12 men’s teams and top 12 women’s teams from around the world. … Both divisions are split into two pools of six for round-robin play. The best six teams advance to the playoffs with the top two teams receiving byes to the semifinals. If necessary, a tiebreaker round will be played Saturday morning to determine the final playoff berths. … The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with the finals on tap Sunday.