Pat Simmons and the Kevin Koe foursome will live to fight another day.
On the verge of being knocked out of the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling, the Calgary-based rink won both of their games Friday to finish with a 4-2 record. Koe handed Mike McEwen his first loss of the weekend by a 7-4 score in the afternoon. In the night draw they beat Kevin Martin 6-3 in eight ends to advance.
Glenn Howard continued his resurgence as he won his fourth straight game, downing a winless Brad Gushue 7-3 in eight ends in Friday’s late draw.
That created a three-way tie for second place after McEwen lost to Jeff Stoughton 7-5 in an all-Manitoba battle for first place. With the win Stoughton earned a bye into Sunday’s final (2:30 p.m., Mosaic Place).
“(Our play) was certainly much better. Today was back to normal,” said Simmons who hails from Moose Jaw and is Koe’s third. “We got a handle on the ice. We were sharp. We didn’t make any of the mistakes that we made in the last couple of days there. It feels good playing like that going into (Saturday).”
Koe will face McEwen in a tiebreaker Saturday at 8 a.m. The winner will meet Howard in the semifinal at 6:30 p.m.
The Howard rink was on the mat after posting an 0-2 record after the opening day. They ran the table to not only advance, but bypass the tiebreak altogether thanks to holding the advantage in the three-way tie.
“After day one this is huge,” said Howard. “We were struggling. We didn’t play well at all. We played two horrible games and our backs were against the wall. We knew we pretty much had to run the table to even have a sniff.
“I have to give credit to my guys. We all talked about just going out and having fun like we normally do and don’t get down, don’t get upset with anything and we did. We kept it positive. We played four really solid curling games and low and behold we’re 4-2.
“We really turned it around. I’m pretty proud of the boys.”
The Koe rink wasn’t in as deep of a hole, but they had no margin for error heading into Friday’s final day. The team has qualified in each of the seven tour events they’ve been to and the confidence that went along with that served them well.
“We’ve been good all year at getting back on track before we were out of an event, so hopefully we can still make a deep run here too,” said Simmons
John Epping finished with a 3-3 record, while Martin was 1-5 and Gushue was 0-6.