Mike McEwen bounced back from two losses on the last day of round robin play, defeating Kevin Koe 9-7 in a tiebreaker, moving on to meet Glenn Howard in the men’s semi final of the 2012 Capital One Canada Cup of Curling.
Momentum was definitely with McEwen and his team of B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld and they got off to a strong start in the first few ends. Koe was forced to bail his team out several times and the teams headed into the fifth tied 3-3.
In the seventh, McEwen continued to keep the pressure on, forcing errors from Pat Simmons, who came up short on a freeze attempt. But with four McEwen rocks in the house, Koe threw a big-weight take-out down the middle to get his team out of trouble. When McEwen replaced a rock in the eight-foot, Koe executed an angled raise double to even the score at 5-5.
The eighth end proved disastrous for Koe, who struggled with rock placement and just couldn’t seem to catch a break against a McEwen team shooting over 90% through seven ends. A missed hit and roll left McEwen an open draw for 3 and an 8-5 lead.
In the ninth, Koe took advantage of a miss by McEwen, whose take-out attempt wrecked on the guard, drawing his way back into the game with a deuce and entering the tenth end trailing by 1.
A perfectly thrown hit and roll left Koe lying shot at the back of the button late in the tenth. McEwen was forced to draw the button and made the shot for the 9-7 win and a trip to the semi-final against Glenn Howard.
“Despite not having the hammer to start, we dictated pretty much most of that game,” said McEwen. “The boys in front of me played really well. I myself probably let Kevin back in a couple of times, but I’m really happy with how the guys played. We controlled that game.”
“They got set up better than we did,” said Koe’s third Pat Simmons. “We were chasing most of that game. We probably didn’t deserve to win it. The skipper made a few good shots and kept us in there.”
“This year for us is just to keep improving,” Simmons said, looking forward. “We’ll try and learn from our small mistakes this week and try and improve on them.
As for McEwen, he’s ready for the semi-final.
“If I can sharpen up, we’ll give Glenn everything he can handle.”