Koe one win from berth at Olympics
Undefeated Alberta skip admits he might show emotion if he earns Olympic berth
Kevin Koe promises he’ll get excited if he wins just one more game at the Canadian Olympic curling trials, as long as it comes on Sunday night.
“Oh yeah, yeah, I would think so,” Koe said with a smile. “Hopefully we find out and you guys all find out.”
Koe, who rarely shows his emotions on the ice, is playing like a cold-blooded assassin at the trials and that has put him a win away from a berth in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Koe’s Calgary team clinched first place in the men’s standings, a bye into Sunday’s final at the Canadian Tire Centre and hammer in that championship game with a 7-4 win over John Morris of Vernon B.C., on Thursday afternoon.
“Obviously that was the big goal and hopefully we’ve got one more in us,” said Koe, a 42-yearold who has won three Canadian championships and two world titles, but has never been an Olympian.
“Have we played our best game yet? Hopefully not. Hopefully we’ve got our best game in us still. But we’re playing good and making the big shots at the end.”
The team’s record is now 7-0 with one game left in the round robin against reigning world champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., on Friday night. The game was essentially meaningless for Koe, but it will surely mean something to Gushue, who was 4-2 heading into a Thursday night game against Steve Laycock of Saskatoon.
“I don’t think we’ll be approaching it as a meaningless game,” Koe said. “It’ll still be a pretty big game for us. After tomorrow we’re going to have two days off, so it’s big for us to come out and play a good game just to keep our confidence going. Brad is playing good and getting better, so it will be a good test.”
A dogfight is shaping up for the second and third playoff spots on the men’s side.
Heading into the evening draw Thursday, Gushue and Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen were tied at 4-2, while Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers was hanging tough at 4-3.
Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher beat Toronto’s John Epping
7-6 in an extra end Thursday afternoon to improve to 3-3, which keeps him in the mix with two games to come on the final day — against McEwen and Carruthers.
Even the teams at 2-4 — 2014 Olympic champion Brad Jacobs and Laycock — were still alive as a five-way tie for second place at 4-4 was technically possible.
“We might throw Stayin’ Alive on in the van on the way back to the house,” Carruthers said after a 9-5 win over Jacobs. “We can get to 5-3 and we might have a sniff, but there’s still some real good teams that have to lose.”
On the women’s side, Calgary’s Chelsea Carey is assured of at least a tiebreaker and is one win away from clinching top spot after she pulled a win out of a train wreck of a game against Julie Tippin Thursday afternoon to improve to 6-0. Carey fell down 4-0 in the second end and was down 8-4 after eight, but scored two in the ninth with hammer and then stole three in the 10th to win 9-8.
“That’s a huge break for us,” Carey said. “You never expect to win a game when that’s the score coming home. You hope to steal, best case, two and then you’ve got to do it again in the extra end. Definitely lucky to pull that one out, but we’ll take it.”
Carey plays Krista McCarville, who is still very much alive at
4-2, Friday morning and then takes on Michelle Englot (2-4) in the afternoon. A win in either game will clinch first place.
Ottawa’s Rachel Homan was
5-1 heading into Thursday’s late draw (she was playing 3-3
Val Sweeting), but her loss was against Carey, so she would need a better record to finish in first place.
Winnipeg ’s Jennifer Jones, the 2014 Olympic gold medallist who had her 19-game winning streak stopped Wednesday, fell to 5-2 Thursday with a 7-3 loss to McCarville. Jones and Homan play on the final draw Friday night in a game that could have major playoff implications.
“It’ll probably be fun, I would think,” Jones said. “The crowd doesn’t bug us. You go to the Olympics and the crowd is bananas and that’s what it’s all about. Whether they’re cheering for you or cheering for the other people, you kind of pretend they’re cheering for you.”
McCarville’s remaining games are against Carey and Sweeting and she will earn at least a tiebreaker with two wins.
“We want to keep that momentum going, keep that good feeling inside going,” McCarville said. “We just play better when our backs are against the wall. We know three losses may not get us in and we have to come out here and leave it all on the line.”
Calgary skip Kevin Koe has been his usual stoic self during an undefeated run thus far through the Canadian Olympic curling trials in Ottawa.
Calgary’s Chelsea Carey is unbeaten at the Canadian Olympic curling trials after a wild 9-8 victory over Julie Tippin on Thursday afternoon.