Polars control tie-breaker fate

The playoff scenario at the Saskatoon Tim Hortons Brier sorted itself out Thursday afternoon – mostly. As a result of the on-ice action, Territorial skip Jamie Koe controls his destiny and that of the field tonight when he takes on Jim Cotter (4-6) of B.C. Simply, if Koe wins, he goes 7-4, grabs fourth place and cuts adrift the rest of the field meaning there will be no tiebreakers.

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

Should Koe falter, and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs beats Saskatchewan’s Scott Manners, Jacobs and Koe will play a Friday afternoon tiebreaker. Jacobs went into his game with Rob Fowler’s Manitoba crew and controlled his destiny as well, but came up short in a 10-4 loss  he chased right from the get-go. Jacobs thus needs help from B.C. who also lost any chance of hanging around for a log-jam five-loss tiebreaking scenario when Cotter’s last draw against two New Brunswick stones to force an extra end came up short. Meanwhile Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario are through but tonight’s marquee match-up between Ontario’s Glenn Howard (9-1) and Alberta’s Kevin Koe (8-2) has big ramifications. Howard knows he’ll be in the ½ Page playoff game regardless, but should Koe win, he’ll be the one seed based on head-to-head. Manitoba’s Fowler will sit and watch and should Howard win, Koe would drop to the three spot as a result of his loss to Fowler last night. Kevin Koe was happy with the way his crew played today and controlled the action against Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy (4-7) in an 8-3 win, and knows how big tonights game will be. (Continued Below…) Draw 16 Photos
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“We put ourselves in a bit of a hole there last night (losing to Fowler). But we’re no worse than third and we’re in the playoffs so that’s good,” said Koe, who says yes, he’ll be cheering for little brother Jamie to win tonight and grab a playoff spot. For Fowler, he says his team has done what it had to do, and is happy to be on a roll heading into the playoffs. “It was strong finish, even though we dropped a couple of games early, in those games, I missed two or three shots that could have broken the games open,” said the Brandon skip. “But the team has been playing well. It’s been a consistent performance all 11 games and to finish off strong is a good place to be in,” said Fowler. New Brunswicker Odishaw was as surprised as anyone that Cotter came up short on his last one. (Continued below…) httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOGpUVUirhk “We were certainly getting ready (for an extra end) we didn’t expect him to come up short there,” he said. “We knew it was getting a little fudgy down there but still…” He says he didn’t really relish the role as a spoiler rather he was 4-7 at his last Brier appearance and the win today left him at 5-6. “We didn’t need any extra motivation (playing spoiler for Cotter), a better record is extra motivation,” he said. “Last time we were 4-7, this time 5-6 maybe next time 6-5 maybe the next time 8-3, who knows,” he said. Brad Gushue of Newfoundland/Labrador was eliminated Wednesday, but was happy to get back on track in a 10-5 win over P.E.I. “It’s nice to get a win and hopefully we’ll get another win tonight and finish 5-6 – which is not nearly what we had hoped for coming into the week, but with the start we got off to, it shows that we hung tough.” In addition to the Alberta/Ontario, Saskatchewan/Northern Ontario and B.C./Territories tilts, the last round-robin draw will see Gushue (4-6) take on Robert Desjardins of Quebec, also 4-6.