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Alberta to face Northern Ontario in tonight’s semi-final

Alberta’s Kevin Koe, skipping an Edmonton team from the Saville Sports Centre, home of luminaries like Kevin Martin and Randy Ferbey, today advanced to the Tim Hortons Brier semi-final slated for 7:30 p.m. AT/6:30 pm ET, live on TSN, from the Metro Centre.

Team Northern Ontario at the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier.

Koe surged to an early 4-1 lead against Brad Gushue of Newfoundland/Labrador and “then we just hung on for the win” — a 6-5 decision capped when Koe drew his last rock cold to the four-foot ring.

Gushue and his mates mounted a comeback starting in the seventh end with a critical steal after scoring their second point in the sixth.

“We just ran out of time,” Gushue said.

Koe will face Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie in the semi with the winner advancing against Ontario’s Glenn Howard of Coldwater in the Sunday final at 8 p.m. AT/7:00 pm ET.

Howard (12-0) defeated Jacobs (9-3) 8-6 in Friday night’s Page One-Two playoff. Koe advanced his record to 9-3 with today’s win in the sudden-death Page Three-Four playoff tiff.

Koe’s team, which has made a name for itself with its ability to protect leads, scored deuces in the first and third ends for a 4-1 edge at the half.  The Alberta skip narrowly missed a double takeout to enable his foe the theft of one in the seventh but drew the four-foot cold in the eighth against two Newfoundland stones to sustain the two-point edge.

In the ninth, Gushue managed a tying pair and had two more counting in the 10th but couldn’t get his last rock in a hidden position.” We played pretty well,” said Koe. “We only missed the odd shot and let them sneak back in there.”

Gushue’s analysis…”The first five ends they didn’t give us any openings,” he said. “The first five they out-curled us. The last five we out-curled them. But the clock ran out.”