BRANDON, Man. – A picked rock and a punch-out for four points sent Brendan Bottcher and Team Wild Card (Edmonton) into the semifinal of the Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, and ended Brad Gushue and Team Canada’s (St. John’s, N.L.) hopes for a record-tying third consecutive championship.
Bottcher emerged with a 7-2 win in the Page playoff 3-4 game and now plays the loser of tonight’s Page 1-2 game between Alberta’s Kevin Koe (Calgary) and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie) at Westoba Place.
The pick came early, in the second end, and was a huge turning point. Gushue’s final stone picked halfway down the ice, leaving Bottcher with a steal of one. Had Gushue made his shot – a relatively straight-forward tap-back – he would have scored two.
“Pick was the story of the game,” said an obviously disappointed Gushue. “Get two in the second end and you can really dictate the play, control the game and when it flips and all of a sudden they have a one-point lead and you feel like you’re chasing, especially under those circumstances.
“It’s really disappointing, probably one of the top three of four worst breaks I’ve had in my career…disappointing the run ended on those terms.”
For Bottcher it was a successful tale of two ends. After the big break in two, Bottcher, third Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin, patiently waited for another chance and they got it in the eighth end.
Moulding executed two superb picks to eliminate Gushue stones and Bottcher put the exclamation point on the end with a heavyweight punch-out of Team Canada’s counter to score four, en route to the victory.
“We got a bit of a rocky start (in the end), but the big turning point was Darren’s pick and when he made that we felt we were slowly opening up the four-foot,” said Bottcher. “Then he made it again, we kept inching that back rock further back and it worked well from there.
“Brad was pushing hard for a force or a steal and we got a coupe of half-shots out of him at the end and that was really the game.”
Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant, lead Geoff Walker, alternate Tom Sallows and coach Jules Owchar got their one point back in the third and the teams traded singles in the fifth and sixth before Bottcher broke it open in the eighth.
BRANDON, Man. – Kevin Koe will go for his fourth Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, championship Sunday after a surprisingly easy 9-4 win over Brad Jacobs and Team Northern Ontario in Saturday’s Page playoff 1-2 game.
Koe and his Calgary-based Team Alberta crew scored two in the first end, stole three in the second and cruised to the decisive victory that moves them directly to Sunday’s 7 p.m. (all times Central) championship game.
Jacobs and his team will now play the semifinal Sunday at 1 p.m. against Brendan Bottcher and Team Wild Card. Bottcher and his foursome from Edmonton earned their semifinal berth with a 7-2 win over defending two-time champion Brad Gushue and Team Canada in the Page 3-4 playoff game earlier in the day.
“These chances don’t come too often,” Koe said of his chance for a fourth title that would put him in a tie for most wins by a skip with Kevin Martin, Randy Ferbey and Ernie Richardson.
“For me and Ben (Hebert) we would love to win another, but it would be nice to win for our teammates, they’ve never done it.”
Koe, third B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Flasch, lead Hebert, alternate Ted Appelman and coach John Dunn, have won 12 straight games. A victory Sunday would tie the Tim Hortons Brier record at 13-0 set by Ferbey and Martin (twice).
Their first-end deuce was set up by Flasch’s double takeout that kicked out two Northern Ontario counters inside the four-foot. In the second, Koe made an in-off to sit four and Jacobs’ final stone rubbed on a rock in the eight foot.
“We played a good first end, got a couple of misses to get up by two,” said Koe. “The second end was a bit of a funny end. Neither team knew if they were sitting good or in trouble. I made a good one on my first and then Brad missed and he was in big trouble, just missed his last shot. Just one of those big ends.”
It was two ends Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Lee Toner and coach Adam Kingsbury couldn’t recover from.
“That loss, that’s all on me, that’s on my shoulders,” said Jacobs, who was shooting just 38 per cent after four ends and finished at 56 per cent compared to 94 per cent for Koe. “The boys played great in front of me. I told them I will be better tomorrow, and that’s the plan. I think I skipped us into questionable situations and then didn’t get results.”
His teammates were sharp – Ryan Harnden shot 92 per cent, E.J. Harnden 89 and Fry 92, all better than the percentages of their counterparts on Koe’s team.
But each time they tried to get a big end set up, Koe would make a shot to eliminate the danger.
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/
TSN and RDS2 (streamed on ESPN3 in the United States) will provide complete coverage of the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
BRANDON, Man. — The all-stars and other award winners at the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, were announced on the closing weekend of the championship
(determined by shooting percentages during the round robin)
(CLICK HERE for a picture of the First All-Star Team with Curling Canada Board of Governors member Resby Coutts)
Skip — Brad Jacobs, Northern Ontario (91 per cent)
Third — Ryan Fry, Northern Ontario (90 per cent)
Second — E.J. Harnden, Northern Ontario (91 per cent)
Lead — Dallan Muyres, Saskatchewan (92 per cent; +6)
(CLICK HERE for a picture of the Second All-Star Team with Curling Canada Board of Governors member Resby Coutts)
Skip — Brad Gushue, Team Canada (88 per cent)
Third — B.J. Neufeld, Alberta (88 per cent)
Second — Brett Gallant, Team Canada (90 per cent)
Lead — Colin Hodgson, Manitoba (92 per cent; +3)
* In the case of a percentage tie, the all-star position goes to the player with the highest plus/minus for the week (a player receives a +1 for every game in which he outcurls the positional opponent by five per cent or more). Should they still be tied, the pre-event draw to the button results are used to determine the all-star.
Ross Harstone Sportsmanship Award
(voted by the players)
The Ross Harstone Trophy is presented each year to the player chosen by his peers as the curler in the Brier who best represents Ross Harstone’s high ideals of good sportsmanship, observance of the rules, exemplary conduct and curling ability.
Harstone was an energetic, positive man who was warm and full of energy and enthusiasm. He was a strong advocate of curling as a friendly, non-commercial game in which sportsmanship without victory is enough.
Harstone was a Brier Trustee in 1952 and was elected to the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1974 as a builder.
2019 winner — Darren Moulding, Team Wild Card
(CLICK HERE for a picture of Darren Moulding with Curling Canada Board of Governors member Resby Coutts)