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Brothers Koe upstage Howard’s record-tying effort

The Koe brothers gave it their best shot to upstage Glenn Howard’s record-tying Brier appearance at the Credit Union Centre on Monday night. Alberta’s Kevin Koe directed his fifth straight victory without a defeat while brother Jamie Koe skipped his Territories team to a fourth win in five starts, matching Ontario’s record atop the Tim Hortons Brier standings.

Howard, the 49-year-old Ontario skip, played a record-tying 174th Brier game as his team of Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing and Craig Savill defeated Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 6-5 in an overtime chiller, the fourth in a row for the Howard team.

Jamie Koe watches his sweepers at the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier. (Photo: CCA/Michael Burns Photography)

The appearance drew Howard even with his older brother Russ Howard. But the younger Howard will establish a new game record of 175 for Brier play today at 1:30 p.m. when Ontario squares off against Scott Manners of Saskatchewan.

It was an unlucky day for the Soo crew which lost twice and crumbled to 2-and-3.

The Alberta team of Kevin Koe, Pat Simmons, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen doubled up on Saskatchewan’s Scott Manners 6-3.

For Jamie Koe’s outfit — third Tom Naugler, second Brad Chorostkowski and rookie lead Robert Borden — it matched his best-ever start at a Brier. The Polar Bears stunned Bad Gushue of Newfoundland/Labrador 10-6, sending the Rocksters to their fourth loss in five games. (Continued Below…)

Draw 8 Photos


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“We had a good day, a little up and down, but we can’t complain, we scored a lot of points,” said the 4-and-1 Koe brother who engineered a first-end trio against Gushue and never looked back.

“We’re playing pretty good right now. We’re managing the game well. I really like where this team is at right now.”

The Territories skip admitted to no surprise at his standing.

“There were a lot of teams here we thought we matched up well against,” he said. “Everybody except maybe two teams thought they matched up pretty well.”

The brothers will collide Wednesday morning following two-game days today.

“The difference is, they’re world champions and the best we’ve ever done is win six games at the Brier,” said Jamie Koe.

Brother Kevin (5-0), who said his Alberta team hasn’t been operating under a lot of heat, seemed impressed.

“We’re playing well and it looks like my brother’s team might be even better,” he said. “They don’t get the competition we do so for them to come down here and played as well they are is something — and I mean they’re knocking off favourites out there.

“We haven’t really had anyone put too much pressure on us yet. But our schedule gets tougher, we get a couple of big games coming up against teams we know more about.”

Howard survived another spine-scraper after Jacobs executed a miraculous perfect-weight tap-and-roll with his last rock in the 10th for a deuce to force the extra end.

The Ontario skip needed a perfectly weighted 10-foot raise tap with his last of the game to secure his fourth decision in five outings.

“That wasn’t one of the easiest shots I’ve ever played,” said Howard. “A 10-foot raise, not too heavy.

“Four extra-ends in a row, whew! “ he gasped. “We’ve had to grind out every win. These guys are bringing their A games and playing well against us. But, yeah, it is getting me revved up. I’m enjoying it. As long as we win those. It’s been a lot of curling. They’re putting the pressure on us.” (Continued below…)

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Informed he’d be breaking his brother’s games-played record today, he said: “That’s cool. It just means I’m old.”

British Columbia Jim Cotter posted his third straight win on the late shift, another last-rock decision, to erase a two-defeat start.

A 10th-end deuce and a measure for the winner gave Cotter a 5-4 win over Quebec’s Robert Desjardins of Chicoutimi.

In Draw Nine this morning, Alberta faces Newfoundland, Nova Scotia tackles Manitoba, B.C. plays Northern Ontario and New Brunswick goes against winless Prince Edward Island.