Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Koe coasts to Brier win

KAMLOOPS, B.C.—Calgary’s Kevin Koe did it the hard way again.
After struggling a little to make the final game, Koe emerged with his second Canadian men’s curling championship after a dominating 10-5 win over B.C.’s John Morris.

“That’s the way we kind of do it sometimes,” Koe remarked.
“We can’t seem to get firing on all cylinders all the time.”
Koe could have finished in first place at the Tim Hortons Brier but he lost his last round-round game to Quebec and created a three-way tie for top spot with B.C. and Manitoba.
The tie-breaking formula gave B.C. hammer and choice of rocks in the 1-2 Page playoff game, which they won.
Koe then had to play Quebec again, after they had beaten Manitoba in the 3-4 game to get into the final.
He’s used to it—since he had to fight even harder to win his first title in 2010 when he came up from the 3-4 game.
Alberta capitalized on B.C.’s mistakes to score three big three-enders. If not for the needs of television, the handshakes likely would have come in eight but they played nine ends.
It was a crushing end to a Cinderella week for Kamloops native son Jim Cotter, who throws fourth stones for B.C. and had been solid all week.
But he made some of those mistakes that cost his team the game last night.
“Jimmy had some uncharacteristic misses there and we were fortunate and when it did happen, we really capitalized,” noted Koe.
“The first three was the big one.”
The numbers told the tale. Koe shot 92 percent while Cotter shot 82 percent. B.C. skip and third stone Morris was just at 72 percent.
“We just missed a couple of too many shots early,” said Morris. “We were just a little bit fooled by the ice.”
This was the second loss in the big game in four months for the Morris-Cotter rink. They also lost the final at the Olympic trials to Brad Jacobs back in December in Winnipeg.
“Whether it’s in front of your home fans or in front of Winnipeg fans or wherever, it’s no fun,” said Cotter.
“Obviously you want to win, but that’s curling. That’s the way it goes,” he reasoned.”
As for what the future holds, Cotter couldn’t say.
“I really haven’t thought too much about the future,” he admitted.
“I guess over the next few weeks or what not, we’ll reflect a little bit and kind of see where things are at and go from there.”
Uncertainty also hangs over Alberta, which, with the win, now is only one behind Manitoba’s record 27 Brier victories.
Second Carter Rycroft, whose wife is pregnant, has said he’s taking a year off curling and the win didn’t change his mind.
He also was named the most valuable player and shot 96 percent in the final.
“This is it as far as me not curling next year,” he stressed.
Koe doesn’t know what he future holds, either.
“I don’t know what will happen with that,” he remarked.
“We haven’t talked about it, we haven’t even thought about.
“Now’s the time to celebrate this win, and we’ll look forward to [being] Team Canada [at the world championship] in China and whatever happens, happens,” Koe added.
Canadian Curling Association rules require that Team Canada retain at least three players to return to the Brier.
Next year in Calgary is the first year Team Canada automatically will get a berth in the Brier.
It’s also the first year the bottom finishers will have to play their way in.
Over the last three years, that’s Nova Scotia and P.E.I., as well as new entrants Nunavut and a separate Yukon team.
Earlier yesterday, Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton took the bronze medal with a 9-5 win over Quebec in nine ends.
But both Stoughton and Quebec skip Jean-Michel Menard said it was a game they don’t even think should be part of the Brier.
“I’ll try to be nice but this game shouldn’t exist,” said Menard.
“It’s useless.”

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