Alberta opens with victory

Alberta’s Brad Thiessen, left, and Karrick Martin sweep during Saturday night’s win over Northern Ontario. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)


KINGSTON, Ont. – Brendan Bottcher and Team Alberta, silver medallists the last two years at the Tim Horton Brier, presented by AGI, took their first step towards another shot at the top rung with a convincing 7-2, eight-end win Saturday evening over former champion Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario.

With the hammer to begin the game at Leon’s Centre, Bottcher waited patiently for his chance for a multiple scoring end. That came in the fourth for the Edmonton-based team. Bottcher made a key double and when Jacobs’s final stone nicked a guard that left Alberta (1-0) with a draw for three.

“Halfway through that end it wasn’t looking very good but Darren (Moulding) made two great runbacks and then I made two great shots,” said Bottcher, “and when you make four in a row at the end and there’s a few rocks in play that usually bodes pretty well for you.

“There’s still six ends left so we had to stay focused. When we forced them the next end that was probably just as big because that solidified the three. And then we came back with a deuce and that held the momentum for us through the rest of the game.”

Jacobs, two-time world and three-time Tim Hortons Brier champion third Marc Kennedy, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden, alternate Lee Toner and coach Rick Lang from Sault Ste. Marie (0-1) were building a potential big end in four until Moulding’s runback triple takeout ended that threat. Jacobs had to draw the four-foot against three Alberta counters.

Bottcher, third Moulding, second Brad Thiessen, lead Karrick Martin, alternate Patrick Janssen and coach Don Bartlett then took total control with two in the sixth for a 5-1 lead.

Jacobs, who won in 2013, took responsibility for the loss. His shooting percentage was a game-low 73. By contrast, Bottcher shot 98 per cent.

“That’s the best team in the world when they play like that,” said Kennedy.

P.E.I. skip Bryan Cochrane, right, watches his shot with Nunavut’s Sheldon Wettig looking on. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

“Skipper didn’t play very well,” said Jacobs. “We played against a great team who really didn’t give us an inch and I found it very difficult on my shots to get results. When that’s going on it makes it tough to win

“I, for some reason, didn’t catch on to the speed as best I could have. That loss is on me and I’m Just going to throw it out the window because I know we’re better than that and I know I’m better than that.”

In the draw’s other games, Bryan Cochrane of Prince Edward Island (Cornwall, 1-0) scored five in the sixth end to beat Jake Higgs of Nunavut (Iqaluit, 0-1) 9-4; Team Wild Card, skipped by Mike McEwen (West St. Paul, Man., 1-0) nipped Matt Dunstone of Saskatchewan (Regina, 0-1) 5-3; and James Grataon of New Brunswick (Oromocto, 1-0) scored two in nine and stole two more in 10 to beat Thomas Scoffin of Yukon (Whitehorse, 0-1) 9-8.

The 2020 Tim Hortons Brier continues with draws Sunday at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. (all times ET).

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Curling Canada