Monday night shootout!
Team Wild Card #2 prevails over Alberta in Tim Hortons Brier thriller
There are curling shots, and there are curling shots, and spectators on site or watching on TSN were treated to a shotmaking circus Monday night at the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI.
Great ice makes for great shotmaking, and there was plenty on display during Pool A action, including a few shots that will no doubt be on TV highlight packages forever.
But when all the rocks came to a spinning halt at the end of the night, the standings showed Team Wild Card #2 skipped by Matt Dunstone and Brendan Bottcher’s defending national champions still unbeaten, and bumper-to-bumper traffic behind them in the race for the three playoff spots up for grabs in the nine-team pool.
Dunstone and Team Wild Card #2 (5-0, Regina) survived some spectacular shots thrown at him from home-province favourite Team Alberta (4-1, Calgary) skipped by Kevin Koe, to post an 8-6 win and move ahead of the pack and almost — repeat almost — book a spot in the playoffs.
Bottcher, meanwhile, looking more and more like a man on a mission, stayed right on his heels. Bottcher skipped Team Canada (4-0, Edmonton) to a hard-fought 8-6 win over Colton Flasch’s Team Saskatchewan (2-2, Saskatoon).
Dunstone, looking to improve on a couple of bronze-medal results at the Tim Hortons Brier, thoroughly enjoyed the win and the style of play.
“That might be the most fun game I’ve been a part of in a long time, rocks in play pretty much every single end, lot of shots made, lot of fun to be part of that,” he said. “Tossing haymakers for 10 ends, that’s the way it always is when we play those guys.
“There’s no hiding out there . . . get it close, have the hammer . . . keep it close and see where the chips fall, that’s all you do because you’re never going to blow out a team like that, unless they don’t show up.”
But the chatter after the draw was all about some of the night’s spectacular shooting, mostly some lasers thrown out of the hand of Koe, who is looking to be the first man to skip a team to five national men’s curling championships.
Koe made some sensational shots, including an eye-popping quadruple takeout in the fourth end that bailed him out of jail.
After he threw it, the local faithful in the ENMAX Centre erupted as if gas prices had just been dropped. But in the long run, it wasn’t enough against a sharp-shooting team from Saskatchewan.
Koe admitted his team was under the gun most of the game.
“We got a bit outplayed all game,” he said.
“We needed it,” he said. “We still gave up a deuce that end. I wish I had some easier shots. They played well. It is what it is. Sometimes those games happen.”
Dunstone was no slouch himself. After Koe’s quad, he came back with his own angle-raise takeout for two. But the fact he survive Koe’s bombardment underlined Dunstone’s own shotmaking skill — and his team’s — on the night.
It was also a night for 59-year-old skip Glenn Howard to breathe a sigh of relief. Howard finally stopped the bleeding by skipping Team Ontario (1-3, Penentanguishene) to a 5-4 win over Team New Brunswick (1-4, Oromocto) skipped by James Grattan.
In the only other game on the evening slate of games, skip Tyler Smith’s Team Prince Edward Island (1-3, Crapaud) hit the win column with a 6-4 triumph over skip Nathan Young’s Team Newfoundland & Labrador (1-4, St. John’s).
The 2022 Tim Hortons Brier continues with draws Monday at 8:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (all times MT).
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier are available at curling.ca/scoreboard.
TSN and RDS2 (streamed on ESPN3 in the United States) will provide complete coverage of the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
For ticket information for the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, go to www.curling.ca/2022brier/tickets/
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2022brier/nouvelles/?lang=fr