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Playoff spots set at Tim Hortons Brier

BRANDON, Man. – The playoff matchups are set and all that’s let to determine in Friday night’s final draw of the Championship Pool at the Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, is which teams will have hammer for Saturday’s playoff games.

Kevin Koe and Team Alberta (10-0, Calgary) completed their unblemished run though the round robins with a 9-3 win over Kirk Muyres of Team Saskatchewan (4-6, Saskatoon) to roll into the Page 1-2 game on a positive.

“It’s a pretty advantageous spot to be, gives you a little room for error, so you definitely want to be in that game so, yes, goal one achieved,” Koe’s third B.J. Neufeld said of being in the 1-2 game. “That was a solid game back to front, maybe our most complete game … we came out ready to play and executed really well.”

Koe, Neufeld, second Colton Flasch, lead Ben Hebert, alternate Ted Appelman and coach John Dunn will meet Brad Jacobs and Team Northern Ontario (9-1, Sault Ste. Marie) in the 1-2 game Saturday at 7 p.m. (all times Central). Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Lee Toner and coach Adam Kingsbury, scored one in the 11th end to edge two-time defending champion Brad Gushue and Team Canada (8-2, St. John’s, NL) 7-6.

Jacobs made an almost anticlimactic draw to the four-foot for the win in a game that saw both skips made some spectacular shots, especially in the final half.

“That was the shot I wanted for the last one,” said Jacobs, who was 100 per cent on his draws. “I felt really confident with draw weight all week, especially with Ryan and E.J. brushing. Really a hard-fought battle and grind. We played amazing from the sixth end on. I know that angled raise in eight really swung momentum in our way.”

Colton Flasch, left, and Alberta teammate Ben Hebert lean into their sweeping efforts on Friday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Jacobs and his teammates were jumping after the skip made an eighth-end angle-raise take-out to score three and grab a 6-5 lead.

“We’re in the 1-2 game and that’s mission accomplished to this point,” he said. “Looking forward, to go out there tonight against our buddies, Koe and those guys, and playing hard. It’s for hammer so something to play for… neither team wants to lose that game I can tell you that right now.”

The Page 3-4 game will see last year’s silver-medallist, Brendan Bottcher and team Wild Card (7-2, Edmonton) meet Gushue. Bottcher scored three in the first end to beat Scott McDonald and Team Ontario (6-4, Kingston) 6-4. In the other game in Friday afternoon’s draw Mike McEwen and Team Manitoba (5-5) beat Jim Cotter and Team British Columbia (4-6, Vernon) 9-7.

In a strange twist, the four playoff teams will play each other in a preview of the Page 1-2 and 3-4 playoff games.

The 2019 Tim Hortons Brier continues with tonight’s draw at 7 p.m.  CST.

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier are available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard/

TSN and RDS2 (streamed on ESPN3 in the United States) will provide complete coverage of the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.

For ticket information for the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier, go to www.curling.ca/2019brier/tickets.

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2019brier/?lang=fr