Kevin Koe again got the better of Jim Cotter.
Koe beat Cotter’s Vernon/Saskatoon/Kelowna rink 9-3 to wrap up the preliminary round at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championship in Kingston, Ont. Wednesday evening.
Koe, the four-time defending Brier champ who beat Cotter in the 2014 final in Cotter’s hometown of Kamloops, finished at 5-2 in Pool A and advanced to Round 2. Also advancing from the group are Team Wild Card (Mike McEwen, Winnipeg. 6-1), Matt Dunstone of Saskatchewan (6-1) and Ontario’s John Epping(4-3).
Epping grabbed the final spot with an 11-8 win over Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories, and when New Brunswick’s James Grattan fell 9-4 to McEwen.
Grattan ended up 3-4. Cotter in his ninth Brier appearance – same as teammates skip Steve Laycock of Saskatoon and lead Rick Sawatsky of Vernon. Second Andrew Nerpin was playing in his second Brier – finished at 2-5, same as Jamie Koe.
Advancing from Pool B were Alberta (Brendan Bottcher, 7-0), Newfoundland and Labrador (Brad Gushue, 6-1), Manitoba (Jason Gunnlaugson, 5-2) and Northern Ontario (Brad Jacobs, 4-3). Teams advancing carry over their records into a four-game round-robin. Top four teams after that qualify for the playoffs.
Cotter jumped out to a 1-0 lead against Kevin Koe, stealing the point. The champs countered with a deuce in two and a steal of one in four for a 3-1 lead. Cotter got a point back and was behind 3-2 at the fifth-end break.
The game turned in Koe’s favour in the sixth when he picked up four, the third time in the tournament the B.C. champs gave up a four-ender. Koe drew handshakes from the Vernon rink with a deuce in the eighth end.