Stoughton and McEwen 2-0 after opening day at Canada Cup
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Kevin Koe, right, and Pat Simmons share a laugh during the opening ceremonies at the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.
Pat Simmons is fitting in perfectly with the Kevin Koe foursome.
The Koe rink continues to grow as a unit off of the ice and are on a roll on it. They enter the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling coming off of a Grand Slam win. They finished Wednesday’s opening day at Mosaic Place with a 1-1 record thank to with a 5-3 win over John Epping in the afternoon and a 7-5 loss to Jeff Stoughton in the evening.
It was only third loss in their last 27 competitive games.
“We’ve been fortunate that he has fit in so well on this team,” Koe said of the addition of Simmons. “Not every team is like that. You look for the best curler and try to make it work. It’s just been a bonus that we’re such good friends.”
Simmons is in his second season playing third with the Calgary-based rink. Koe said that their top priority in replacing previous third Blake MacDonald was a quality curler. They knew Simmons and felt he would be a good fit on the ice and off.
The unit of Koe, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen have been together for six seasons. Despite that continuinty, Koe said that any change has an impact.
“You’d be surprised that changing one person, how it can change so many things out there,” said Koe.
Simmons has now been to six Briers and has played with 10 different teammates to get there.
“It’s hard when there’s any change to any team,’’ Simmons said. “Curling is very much a personality issue. You have to know how to massage each other when it comes to what you say and how you say it when you’re out there. There’s always issues that way.’’
Koe’s opening game win could have been easier, but Simmons saw a lot of value in the close victory.
“We had to battle and to see what the ice is like late in the game and make some big shots, it was huge,’’ he said. “The fact that we stuck in there, battled and played pretty well for the rest of the game is a good sign.”
In the nightcap, Stoughton stole a point in three ends to earn the win. Koe had the hammer coming home down a point, but wasn’t able to tie the game up.
Stoughton is one of two rinks who are still unbeaten at the Canada Cup. Stoughton beat Glenn Howard 9-5 in the morning draw to sit at 2-0. He’s joined on top of the standings by fellow Winnipegger Mike McEwen.
McEwen beat Howard 7-6 in the evening draw after beating Brad Gushue 8-2 in the afternoon.
Epping made a splash in the opening draw when his Toronto foursome knocked off the defending champion Kevin Martin rink 7-6. Epping used a four-ender in the third end to take early control of the match.
In the late draw Martin beat Gushue 10-7 to raise his record to 1-1. Gushue is now 0-2.