Alberta continues to apply Brier pressure

Alberta’s curling champs are beginning to look as solid as rent. Kevin Koe’s Calgary Glencoe unit won its sixth straight on Tuesday morning at the snowbound Credit Union Centre, leaving it two wins ahead of everybody else in the Tim Hortons Brier field. Koe was ruthless in pushing the aggressiveness against Brad Gushue’s reeling (1-and-5) Newfoundlanders and closed it 8-1 in eight ends. Six of Alberta’s eight points were posted without the benefit of last rock.

Team Alberta sweeps the rock down the ice at the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier. (Photo: CCA/Michael Burns Photography)

Idle teams from the Territories (Koe’s brother Jamie of Yellowknife) and Ontario have 4-and-1 records heading into afternoon entanglements while B.C. Jim Cotter and Manitoba’s Rob Fowler each won their fourth games against two losses on the morning draw. Cotter outpointed a reeling Northern Ontario team skipped by Brad Jacobs 7-3 for B.C.s fourth straight triumph. It was Northern Ontario’s third straight setback. Fowler directed a 10-7 triumph over Nova Scotia rookie Jamie Murphy (3-3), hammering a four-count on the board in the seventh end to settle the argument. Alberta prevailed again in spite of two hogline violations from third Pat Simmons and a couple of shots fouled by debris. “You talk about how to handle adversity like that all the time,” said the 37-year-old Koe. “It’s more how you recover from your aches and your errors. We wanted to come back from those things and we were fine. You’re always going to have those things happen out there. Nobody’s perfect.” Gushue managed a third-end single after giving up aces in the first two ends but never hit the board again. It truly was a morning of frustration for the Newfoundlanders. “We played well, and we did a good job keeping it clean,” said Koe. “Brad didn’t really push it too much and we were happy to go with that flow. That style of game has been working for us and we got a couple of big misses in the last couple of ends.” The relentless B.C. crew from Kelowna took control in the fourth end with a deuce and staunchly refused to allow the Soo Crew back into it. “We’re getting better each game and we felt like we were pretty solid out there today,” said the ball-caped Cotter. “Our confidence is growing as we get a handle on the ice.” The Manitoba-Nova Scotia debate was see-saw until the seventh when Fowler executed a key shot for the quad. “It was nice to get that four,” said Fowler. (Continued below…) httpvh:// “I have had a couple of those shots I haven’t made so, yeah, it takes a little weight off the shoulders. It breaks the game open and makes it a little easier on the guys.” In one other sunrise eye-opener, P.E.I.’s Mike Gaudet of Charlottetown steered his entry to its first win, an 8-6 effort against New Brunswick’s Terry Odishaw. “I think we can build off that,” said Gaudet (1-5). “Our confidence has been building every day and if we can put together a few in a row like that it will help.” Two three-enders inflicted most of the damage on the 2-and-4 New Brunswick squad. In afternoon action at 1:30 CT, Alberta comes right back against Northern Ontario, B.C. plays Newfoundland, Quebec tackles the hot Territories squad and Saskatchewan’s Scott Manners (2-3) faces off with Ontario in skip Glenn Howard’s record 175th Brier contest.