OLDS — The newest Alberta men’s curling champions were both poised and aggressive all week.
And, oh yeah, confident.
“I really felt that it was ours to lose, especially after coming out of the A event,” said Kevin Koe, whose foursome downed Randy Ferbey’s crew 7-5 in the all-Edmonton championship final of the Boston Pizza Cup Sunday at the Sportsplex. “We were playing well all week. We didn’t have many misses, we were sharp and got the breaks when we needed them.
“This has been four years in the making for this squad. Our first year together we should have been there (winner’s circle) and to pull it out today is just awesome.”
Koe trailed only once in the final, giving up a steal of one in the first end. The victorious foursome, also including third Blake MacDonald, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen, led 3-2 after four ends, then stole singles in each of the next two frames.
Ferbey, with Dave Nedohin tossing skip stones, got one back in the seventh, but Koe drew for a deuce in the eighth to all but seal the deal. Ferbey counted a pair in the ninth but ran out of rocks heading home.
Koe, who beat Ferbey 10-8 in the A-event final Thursday and 10-6 in Saturday night’s A-B contest, was deadly accurate throughout his team’s 5-0 run.
“He was a real stud out there,” said MacDonald. “He deserves this, his first Purple Heart. I feel fantastic for all three of our guys. It feels really good, we worked really hard for this. I’m really proud of how we played and how we controlled ourselves.”
Koe becomes the first Alberta skip other that Kevin Martin or Ferbey to represent Alberta at the Brier since 1999. This year’s Brier is set for March 6-14 in Halifax.
“They’re arguably two of the best teams of all time,” said MacDonald, in reference to the Martin and Ferbey foursomes. “I’ve lost three of the (provincial) finals, including one three years ago, so it’s not like we played badly over the years. A lot of it was just learning how to beat those guys.
“They deserve a lot of credit for where we’ve gotten to, because without having to play them all of the time we certainly wouldn’t have improved our game.”
Nedohin said the Koe crew were deserving winners.
“They beat us three times. They were the better team all week,” he noted. “They played well and when they needed some breaks they got some breaks. Some shots they weren’t even trying worked out better than the ones they were playing. They had some good shot-making, but you also need breaks along the way.
“It seemed like we had wrong angles all week, and we also had a few missed shots here and there.”
Nedohin admitted that the steals in the fifth and sixth ends hurt big time.
“It was a good battle through the first few ends. It just slipped away in the middle of the game. We couldn’t seem to create much offence.”
Was it, as rumours have suggested, the last hurrah for the Ferbey foursome as it exists?
“I don’t know. I have no idea,” said Nedohin. “I think it’s a lot too early to think about that too much just because we were planning on playing in Halifax in another few weeks and then hopefully in Italy (in the world championship).
“I can’t really comment on what the team is going to do moving forward. We have a couple (World Curling Tour) events and the Players Championship left and I’m sure we’ll figure things out over the next month.”
Ferbey, the B-event winner, advanced to the championship game with an 8-6 semifinal win over Ted Appelman of Edmonton Sunday morning.
l Red Deer’s Rob Armitage was eliminated Saturday with a 10-3 loss to Brent Bawel of Calgary in one of two C-event qualifiers. Bawel then fell 8-6 to Appelman in an evening championship semifinal.
“It was a good week,” said Armitage, whose squad — consisting also of third Shaun Meachem and front-enders Trevor Sparks and Doug Stambaugh — finished with a 4-3 record. “We were in real tough. Even if we had won this game, we were going to have to win two more without hammer and choice of rocks. Against guys like (Kevin) Koe and (Randy) Ferbey, that wasn’t going to be easy.”