Must See: Dunstone nails runback triple to score four and steal match from B.C.
With the Tim Hortons Curling Trials quickly approaching, TSN.ca will profile one men’s team and one women’s team each day before the first rocks fly on Nov. 20 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
Team Matt Dunstone
Skip: Matt Dunstone (Age 26)
Third: Braeden Moskowy (31)
Second: Kirk Muyres (31)
Lead: Dustin Kidby (36)
Coach: Adam Kingsbury
Curling Club: Highland Curling Club in Regina
CTRS Ranking: 6
Highlights: Team Dunstone’s best result this season has been a semi-final showing at the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard, losing to the Olympic gold-medal contenders from Scotland in Team Bruce Mouat. They went 5-1 at the Trials Direct Entry event. On the Grand Slam circuit, they went 1-3 at the Masters and 3-2 at the National, dropping a quarterfinal decision to Team Kevin Koe.
How They Got Here
Qualified for the Tim Hortons Curling Trials via Curling Canada’s Trials Direct Entry event in September in Ottawa.
Nov. 20 – Mike McEwen
Nov. 21 – Brad Jacobs
Nov. 22 – Kevin Koe
Nov. 23 – John Epping
Nov. 24 – Brad Gushue, Brendan Bottcher
Nov. 25 – Off Day
Nov. 26 – Tanner Horgan, Jason Gunnlaugson
Expert Analysis from TSN's Russ Howard
Team Dunstone will win the Trials if…
"Team Dunstone needs to win the close ones in the round robin to make the final three for the playoffs. The shots are there, just believe. If they can handle the pressure at the end of the week, their odds are as good as any."
Matt Dunstone and Kirk Muyres competed together at the 2017 Olympic Trials for Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock.
At just 22-years-old, and fresh off a junior career that saw him win two Canadian championships, Dunstone threw skip stones as the team’s fourth, shooting 78.9 per cent for the tournament. Muyres played second on that team, the same position he’ll play in Saskatoon.
Team Laycock finished tied for last with a 2-6 record, but the experience has proven valuable as Dunstone is now one of the top skips in the game after back-to-back Brier playoff appearances and strong play on Tour.
Last Four Years
To start the quadrennial, Dunstone formed a new team with Braeden Moskowy at third, Catlin Schneider at second and Dustin Kidby at lead.
Team Dunstone won the third leg of the 2018-19 Curling World Cup but came up short at qualifying for the Brier after losing to a Muyres-led team in the Saskatchewan final. At the Brandon Brier, Muyres made the championship pool and finished with a 5-6 record.
The following curling campaign was when things really heated up for Dunstone. In October of 2019, Dunstone captured his first Grand Slam title by defeating Brad Gushue in the final of the Masters.
Dunstone continued that momentum at provincials, defeating Muyres in a rematch of the previous year’s final.
At the Kingston Brier, Dunstone became a superstar. The sharpshooter made a handful of world class shots, earning Saskatchewan a playoff spot for the first time since 2015.
Team Dunstone ended up losing to Brendan Bottcher in the 1 vs. 2 game and suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Gushue in the semis.
“We have it in us to be Brier champions. There’s no doubt about that,” said Dunstone. “We beat some great teams this week. We lost to some great teams this week. At the end of the day we were two wins away.”
Despite coming up short, Dunstone received plenty of praise from his veteran counterparts throughout the week.
"There's no doubt in my mind he is going to win one and probably multiple [Brier championships] over the course of his career...he’s that good,” said Gushue. “Hopefully he keeps his head held up high. This is going to sting for a couple days…we got a star on our hands in the future for curling in Canada.”
Following the Brier, Team Dunstone were one of a handful of teams to make major changes to their lineup in pursuit of Olympic glory as Schneider was let go in favour of provincial counterpart Muyres.
After only playing a handful of events in the fall of 2020 due to the pandemic, Team Dunstone was selected by CURLSASK to represent the prairie province at the Brier. After getting to know each other during a quarantined training camp at a curling club in Wadena, Sask., Dunstone earned another playoff appearance at nationals after going 9-3.
He would have made it to the final as well if not for an excellent game-winner by Bottcher in the semifinals.