Alberta advances to Brier semi-final

Based on previous confrontations, it was closer than most expected. For a time. Jamie Koe planned a different scenario for Saturday’s Page Three-Four playoff at the Tim Hortons Brier. He’d been beaten 8-3 and 11-3 by his brother in the past but he showed up this time with fire in his eyes. And he executed a series of massive shots to keep his Yellowknife group in the thick of it against brother Kevin Koe’s Albertans.

The Koe brothers watch the ice during the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier Page Playoff 3 vs 4. (Photo: CCA/Michael Burns Photography)

But a difference in team talent finally began to show up again, this time along about the seventh end. And it was evident the only way Jamie Koe was going to be headed anywhere but this morning’s bronze-medal match at the Credit Union Centre was by executing at least 20 and maybe 22 shots to utter perfection. “I felt like I did in the other games we’ve won here,” said the Territories skip, who finally bowed 10-6 when his brother’s Albertans embarked on a stealing spree in the late going. “We knew we’d have a chance to win if we played our game and we really played well for the first five, I thought,” said Jamie Koe. “They came out a bit harder in the sixth and we seemed to sit back a bit. I missed big shots in the seventh and eighth that cost us the game in the end.” But he made some vital shots in the first five to keep his team in control, particularly in the fifth end when Alberta attempted to lock the Territories stone on the button for the tying point. The younger Koe nonchalantly changed the turn and tossed a cold draw to an actual bite of the button for a go-ahead deuce. “We weathered a storm there,” said Kevin Koe, whose team of Pat Simmons, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen from Calgary advanced to the semi-final match tonight at 7 p.m. CT against Manitoba’s Rob Fowler.(Continued Below…) Page Playoff 3 vs 4 Photos
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“They were playing good and making all the shots. We came back with that deuce in the sixth right after he got that two with the great draw. “We talked about it at the break. We decided to just stay patient. We thought we’d probably get a couple of misses and we did. “We knew it was a big day for them and they’d never been in the playoffs before. “When you’re playing that well, after a while you get that feeling you’re never going to miss and you want to try everything. Then you get in trouble.” The Territories found trouble in the seventh when Jamie Koe was heavy on his last shot, attempting an angle-bump for a deuce rather than drawing for one. His stone failed to curl and sailed on past the target. In the eighth, there was a longshot possibility for a hit and roll to manufacture a deuce out of rings full of opposing stones. Again the alternative was a draw for one. But the shot had to be letter perfect. It wasn’t. Jamie Koe killed his own stone, rolled out the shooter and yielded a four-count. “We talked about it,” said the Territories skip. “We figured the most we could give up was one. We didn’t like our situation so we took a chance. We got burned. We just went all in. We had deuce-three and we got called. “It’s disappointing, but I have someone to cheer for tonight for sure and we don’t want to play those guys again tomorrow. We both still have a chance to medal. And that would be kind of cool, I think. “The bronze medal game probably means a little more to us than it would to all the other teams so if both Koes can medal it would be something pretty special.” The Albertans outscored the Northerners 86-77 on the percentage chart. Third Simmons, who has been suffering from a viral respiratory ailment, scored 89 per cent on third rocks. He was the game’s top shooter. (Continued below…) httpvh:// “Pat seems to be getting worse,” said Kevin Koe of Simmons’ ailment. “It’s terrible timing. We still have to soldier on. We have a chance here. And he’s still playing OK. “If he can get out and feels that he can contribute, then he’ll be playing (tonight). “I thought he played pretty well that game.” Alberta has Blake MacDonald, who played third for the team when it won the world title two years ago, in the wings as a fifth player. The Territories lineup included third Tom Naugler, second Brad Chorostkowski and lead Robert Borden.