Breaking News :

Kevin Koe secures playoff spot at Brier with win over Bottcher in Battle of Alberta

Alberta’s Kevin Koe edged defending champion Brendan Bottcher 5-4 on Wednesday night to secure a playoff spot with a 6-1 record at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge, Alta.

Bottcher (6-1) had already locked up a playoff berth earlier in the day by leading Canada past Wild Card Two’s Matt Dunstone 8-7 in an extra end in the morning draw.

Brad Gushue (6-0) of Wild Card One clinched a playoff spot in the afternoon draw by beating Nova Scotia’s Paul Flemming 10-4.

Dunstone was down one in the 10th versus Bottcher but couldn’t build the end for a game-winning deuce. A soft tap for a single forced an extra end and Bottcher wasn’t threatened from there, sealing the win with a nose hit.

“That was a battle,” Bottcher said. “I think it came down to [the fact] we managed the scoreboard and had hammer in the extra end. That was really the difference.”

An unexpected withdrawal on the eve of Canada’s Olympic trials forced Braeden Moskowy to watch from home as his team fell well short of qualification.

Citing “personal reasons” for the decision, Moskowy was substituted by Colton Lott and the foursome, skipped by Matt Dunstone, opened with five straight losses en route to a 3-5 mark. Moskowy has since returned to the lineup and helped the Wild Card Two entry to an impressive 6-1 round-robin record at the Brier.

“It’s good to be back and I’m just so grateful to be on this team with these guys,” Moskowy said. “It’s a blast being back out there with them, that’s for sure.”

In a surprise mid-November announcement, Team Dunstone stated it was making a lineup change without providing further details on Moskowy’s absence. The personal reasons cited in the team statement have not been publicly disclosed.

Moskowy said he sat down with his teammates before the Saskatoon trials — the biggest competition on the domestic curling calendar, and in his home province to boot — to let them know he would not be participating.

“Mentally, physically, it was a tough week,” he said. “I had some stuff going on. It wasn’t just the trials. I had to miss an event before [that] and it was two separate reasons. So I had some stuff going on and wasn’t able to play.

“But in the grand scheme of things, if you look around at what’s going on in the world, it’s just another curling event. I’m happy to be back.”

Speaking after the morning draw at the Enmax Centre, Moskowy — who has thrown at a steady 86-per cent clip this week — was asked whether using an umbrella term like “personal reasons” raised any concerns from those around him.

“To be honest with you, at the time, I didn’t know exactly what was going on myself,” he said. “So it was a personal thing. Whether it’s health or whatever is going on in your life, we’re just amateur curlers at the end of the day. There’s stuff that goes on outside the rink and we have everyday lives too.

“So it was I guess when you say personal, it’s something that you don’t really want to talk about. It’s private. My friends, my family, Curling Canada, Sportsnet, the people that matter, they know what’s going on and that’s all that matters to me.”

The 31-year-old Regina native said it was “tough not being there,” since the team had worked so hard to peak for the trials.

Gushue won the trials and went on to earn a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics. Jennifer Jones skipped Canada in the women’s team event but did not make the podium.

Read Previous

Novak Djokovic out of two events due to U.S. COVID-19 travel restrictions

Read Next

Chelsea put ownership issues to side in win over Norwich City

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *