Once again it was the final shot that made the difference, as Kevin Koe and Brendan Bottcher dueled it out in a tiebreaker in draw ten of the Home Hardware Canada Cup Saturday morning.
Koe and Bottcher opened the game with a blank end, then trading single points until Bottcher grabbed two in the fourth to take a 3-1 lead. However, the fifth end saw Koe go up 4-3 after taking three, and he gained another two to take a 6-4 advantage into the eighth end. Bottcher then scored three to regain a 7-6 edge. After blanking the ninth, Koe made the hammer shot count to steal two points and an 8-7 tiebreaker victory.
"I was just hoping to have a shot. I'm not sure if he totally saw that one, he mostly was trying to take the corner guard in there which was probably a little bit easier, but we're just happy to have it," stated Kevin Koe afterwards, "We'd thrown there quite a bit that game, so it felt like it'd be close just because we knew what the ice would do. Obviously, you're not going to make that too often, but right time, right place."
Shouts of triumph and fist pumps from the team marked the emotional moment. While a tiebreaker wasn't the way they drew up their path to the playoffs, it got them there.
"That was a frustrating game. We had a lot of good throws and just didn't get much out of it. Had a few bad breaks, and against a good team like that, they're going to make you pay," Koe said.
He and his crew face Brad Gushue in the semi final Saturday afternoon, and he noted that they'll have to take their game up another notch to have a chance.
The 5-1 Jennifer Jones followed a similar script for the first few ends against Team Walker, finding a 3-1 lead after four ends. Finding two in the fifth end, however, Walker was able to knot the score at 3. Gained another two in the seventh end, Walker retained a 5-4 lead until Jones tied it in the eighth, but the former managed to find a point each in the ninth and tenth ends to steal a 7-5 win.
The .500 Team Scheidegger took on Darcy Robertson, who had only found one win so far in the event. The pair exchanged scores through four ends for a 3-all tie in the fifth, before Scheidegger scored a point to go up 4-3. By the eighth end she had a 6-5 advantage and added to it for an 8-7 victory.
Allie Flaxey may have played one of her strongest games of the tournament, with several well placed shots often giving a slight advantage over Rachel Homan's crew. Flaxey was up 2-1 by the fifth end, though there were quite a few chances for a larger difference throughout the first half of the game. Homan took over the lead after five ends to go up 4-2 after a blank seventh. Though Flaxey narrowed the lead once again Homan held on, taking a close 5-4 final score.
"That was an important one. Otherwise, we would have had three today and I don't know how we could have handled thirty ends," Rachel Homan expressed following the win, "It was a really close game the whole time, they played really well."
Her and her company advance to the semi final game Saturday evening, against Jennifer Jones.
"This is what we wanted, to make playoffs, top three. First job is done, and now want to try and make it through the semi and make it to the final on Sunday."
Kerri Einarson continued to bring her top game to the ice in a showdown with Carey. Einarson had a 4-1 lead after four ends, thanks to gaining three points in the second. Carey then found two in the fifth end to narrow the gap to one. However, Einarson was up 5-2 by the end of the seventh, and only added to it to force a concession after eight ends, 7-3. She advances straight to the final berth Sunday afternoon.
The men's semi final gets under way at 2:00 PM Friday afternoon, along with the women's tiebreaker, as Gushue squares off with Koe.