Estevan's Brent Gedak is going back to the provincial men's curling championship.
Gedak defeated Moose Jaw's Joel Jordison 8-3 in nine ends during a C final at the SaskTel Southern Men's Playdowns January 20 at the Estevan Curling Club. The victory punched Gedak's ticket to provincials, which will begin in Melfort on January 30.
Gedak went 2-2 in his first four games at playdowns. He scored four times in the first end en route to an 8-3 win over Swift Current's Reagan Hadden, but then lost 7-5 to Regina's Brock Virtue. Gedak responded with an 8-1 win over Lampman's Mark Walter, but lost 9-7 in an extra end to Regina's Chris Busby.
Gedak trailed Busby 7-4 after eight ends, but scored twice in the ninth and stole one in the 10th to force the extra end.
“We were struggling as a team,” said Gedak. “We always had two guys that were playing well, and a couple that weren't. After that game, we still had a couple guys struggle, but we started playing better today (January 20).”
The loss to Busby sent Gedak to the C event, which meant he'd be eliminated if he suffered one more loss. But he responded with three straight victories. He started with a 6-3, seven-end win over Moose Jaw's Shawn Joyce. Gedak was sitting two, with the hammer, in the eighth end when Joyce opted to concede, rather than have Gedak throw the final rock, and add to the score.
Gedak then beat Weyburn's Wade Syorka 7-3 in nine ends, and beat Jordison in the final. Jordison won provincials in 2009, and he and Gedak used to be teammates.
Gedak was rarely in trouble against Jordison. Gedak had a 4-0 lead after five ends, and scored three in the ninth to end the contest and quash any hopes that Jordison had of a comeback.
“I always enjoy playing against Joel,” said Gedak. “It's a rivalry that we've always had since we started playing in men's together. But he's a good player, and every time we play him, we have to watch out, because we know what kind of shots he can make.”
The other members of Gedak's team were third John Aston, second Derek Owens and lead Malcolm Vanstone.
Gedak said he expects it will be a tough field at provincials.
Four other teams advanced to provincials from southern playdowns: William Coutts, Brock Virtue, Jeff Hartung and Chris Busby.
Regina's Coutts defeated Jordison 7-6 in the A final. Virtue defeated Busby 4-2 in one B final, and Hartung beat Jordison 7-5 in the other B final.
Busby rebounded to knock off Whitewood's Jason Krupski in the other C final.
One other local team competed at playdowns: Lampman's Mark Walter, who was competing at the event for the first time in many years.
Walter opened with an 8-2 loss to Coutts in six ends, but recovered to defeat Assiniboia's Jason Weal 9-6 in nine ends. The loss to Gedak, and an 8-5 loss to Krupski, ended Walter's tournament.
He said he competed at playdowns in the 1980s and the 1990s, but he hasn't been to the provincial qualifier for more than a decade because he was focused on his son's hockey. He was asked to skip the team about a week before regionals in Lampman earlier this month.
“I've been curling regularly, and we have a little super league in Lampman,” said Walter. Walter said he enjoyed the competition at southerns, and it was nice to know that he could still compete with a lot of the teams. He also liked the camaraderie at the tournament. A few curlers who he competed against when he attended playdowns in the past were in Estevan.
The other members of his team were: third Garry Kreutzer, second Aaron Fornwald and lead Dave Wetsch.