Defending Canadian and World champion Kevin Koe knows a thing or two about handling tough situations.
So when he was taken to an extra end by Ted Appelman in the men’s final of the Red Deer Curling Classic Monday at the Pidherney Centre, it wasn’t going to bother him.
In fact, he made a perfect draw to freeze to an Appelman stone on the button with his first shot on the extra end, which all but ended the game. In fact Appelman had to make a spectacular chip in an effort to just stay alive and when he took his own rock it gave Koe the 6-5 victory.
Meanwhile on the women’s side, Nadine Chyz of Calgary downed Scotland’s Hannah Fleming 8-4.
Koe admitted it was a tough battle, but he expected it.
“They didn’t get to the final by a fluke,” he said. ‘They beat some good teams like (David) Murdoch and (Brandon Bottcher) along the way and were playing well coming in.”
The teams exchanged points along the way with Koe looking to take control in the sixth when he made a brilliant angle raise takeout for two and a 5-3 lead.
However, Appelman counted one on the seventh, then stole one on the eighth when Koe’s draw to the button hung out.
It was a an up and down start to the weekend for Koe, who lost in the second round of the A event and in the B event qualifier semifinal.
“We had a few struggles early, but made some shots when we needed them to beat some good teams yesterday and today,” he said.
Overall the year has been solid for Koe, third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert.
“It’s been pretty good. We did struggle a bit the last two events … just lost a couple of games when we weren’t sharp,” said Koe. “A couple of bad breaks but that’s all it takes. This is our second win of the year and it sets us up good for the next couple of events.”
One of those is the Canada Cup in Brandon, Nov. 30-Dec. 3. The winner earns a berth in the Olympic Trials.
“We won that last year and are already in the Trials which makes it nice, but we’re looking forward to this as it will be a good measuring stick as to where we’re at. The other teams there will be geared up as they want to earn a spot.”
This is the third season for the team to be together.
“The first year we had some ups and downs while last year we won all the bigs ones and a few others,” said Koe.
“Still there’s room for improvement before the (Olympic) Trials next year, which is our big goal, and of course the Brier this season.”
Koe came out of the C event into the eight-team playoffs. The rink downed Sean Geall of Kelowna 7-2, and counted a deuce on the eighth end to edge Kyle Smith of Scotland, 5-4.
Appelman who came out of the B event, stopped Murdoch, 6-3, and Bottcher, 5-4.
Other quarter-final games saw Bottcher stop defending Red Deer champion Mick Lizmore of Edmonton, 5-4, and Smith edge Jamie Koe of Yellowknife, who had Red Deer’s Chris Schille at third, 6-5.
Chyz started a bit slow, losing her first game, 5-3, to Geri-Lynn Ramsay of Calgary, who had Red Deer’s Brittany Tran at second, but then didn’t lose again.
She won the B event, then stopped Robyn Silvernagle of North Battleford, 6-3, and Ursi Hegner of Switzerland, 7-3.
“We had some struggles in that first game, but we used it as a learning experience as we went forward,” said Chyz.
“We were happy to get to know the ice and because of it were more comfortable.”
It’s been a solid year for the Calgary crew, having won three Alberta ’spiels.
“We’ve done well on the schedule and, as it wraps up, we’re where we want to be heading toward the playdowns.”
The foursome, which includes third Heather Jensen, second Rebecca Konschuh and lead Heather Rogers.
Konschuh, who is new to the team this year, has ties to Red Deer as she played with Jocelyn Peterman’s junior team, which also included Tran.
“Heather my third and Heather my lead and myself have been together for three years while our second was having a baby, and we added Becca this year, and we’ve been coming together as a team,” said Chyz, who made a pair of outstanding draws with her two stones on the seventh end to put an end to the final.
“Give credit to the rest of my team. They made the shots and made it easy for me,” she said. “As for the draws, I should have that draw weight as a skip, and I was glad to have it.”
Chyz won’t be attending the Canada Cup.
“We don’t have the points built up yet, so that’s why events like this mean a lot for us going forward,” she said.
Fleming came out of the A event and reached the final by downing Shannon Kleibrink of Okotoks, 6-4, and Kelsey Rocque of Edmonton, 5-3. Other quarter-finals saw Hegner defeat Chelsea Carey, with Peterman at second, 5-4, and Rocque stop Stephanie Lawton, 7-2.