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Simmons wins Brier as Alberta dominates B.C. 10-5

KAMLOOPS (The Canadian Press) — The third time was the charm for Alberta at the Brier.

Alberta's Nolan Thiessen, right, lifts teammate Pat Simmons after defeating British Columbia to win gold at the Tim Hortons Brier in Kamloops, B.C. Sunday.

For Moose Jaw's Pat Simmons it was lucky number seven.

Alberta's Kevin Koe rink, which features Simmons at third, beat B.C.'s John Morris 10-5 in the Tim Hortons' Brier final Saturday in Kamloops. Morris had beaten Koe 7-6 in the opening draw and again 9-5 in the Page playoffs before Koe won the meeting that ultimately mattered.

“That's the way we kind of do it sometimes,” Koe said. “We can't seem to get firing on all cylinders all the time.”

Simmons skipped Saskatchewan to four consecutive Briers and then threw fourth stones for Steven Laycock in a fifth trip representing his home province. He joined Koe as a third in the fall of 2011 — maintaining a residence in Calgary while still living in Moose Jaw — and the new Alberta rink lost the 2012 Brier final.

The rest of Koe's rink — second Carter Rycroft, lead Nolan Thiessen and alternate Jamie King — had won the Brier in 2010. After Morris shook hands after the ninth end Thiessen lifted Simmons off the ground in celebration.

"It's awesome. No one deserves it more. He's been a great curler; around the Brier all the time," Koe told TSN after the game when asked about Simmons winning his first Brier. "He's an awesome teammate. I'm really happy for him."

Simmons shot 86 per cent in the round robin, the third-highest total amongst thirds.

After losing consecutive games to end the round robin and start the playoffs, Koe needed an extra end to beat Jean-Michel Ménard 9-8 in the semifinal Saturday night.

In the final they were light's out. Alberta capitalized on B.C.'s mistakes to score three big three-enders.

It was a crushing end to a Cinderella week for Kamloops native son Jim Cotter, who throws fourth stones for B.C. and had been solid all week but made some of those mistakes that cost his team the game Sunday.

“Jimmy had some uncharacteristic misses there and we were fortunate and when it did happen, we really capitalized,” said Koe. “The first three was the big one.”

The numbers told the tale. Koe shot 92 per cent, Cotter 82 and B.C. skip and third stone Morris was at 72 per cent.

“We just missed a couple too many shots early,” said Morris. “We were just a little bit fooled by the ice.”

This is the second loss in the big game in four months for the Morris-Cotter rink. They also lost the final at the Olympic trials to Brad Jacobs in December in Winnipeg.

“Whether it's in front of your home fans or in front of Winnipeg fans or wherever, it's no fun,” said Cotter. “Obviously you want to win, but that's curling, that's the way it goes.

“They were bang on. They were making everything. It's tough to come back from that.”

As for what the future holds, he couldn't say.

“I really haven't thought too much about the future. . . I guess over the next few weeks or what not we'll reflect a little bit and kind of see where things are at and go from there.”

Uncertainty also hangs over Alberta, which, with the win, is now only one behind Manitoba's record 27 Brier victories.

Rycroft, whose wife is pregnant, has said he's taking a year off from curling and the win didn't change his mind. He was also named the most valuable player and shot 96 per cent in the final game.

“This is it as far as me not curling next year,” he said emphatically.

Koe doesn't know what he future holds either.

“I don't know what will happen with that, we haven't talked about it, we haven't even thought about,” he said.

“Now's the time to celebrate this win and we'll look forward to (being) Team Canada (at the world championship) in China and whatever happens, happens.”

Canadian Curling Association rules require that Team Canada retain at least three players to return to the Brier.

Next year in Calgary is the first year Team Canada will automatically get a berth in the Brier. It's also the first year the bottom finishers will have to play their way in.

Over the last three years, that's Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as new entrants Nunavut and a separate Yukon team.

The Koe rink will now represent Canada at the World Men's Curling Championship in Beijing, China starting on Mar. 29.

 

— with files from the Moose Jaw Times-Herald

Organizations: Tim Hortons, Team Canada, Curling Association Moose Jaw Times-Herald

Geographic location: Alberta, Moose Jaw, Kamloops Calgary Saskatchewan Winnipeg China Manitoba Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island Nunavut Yukon Canada Beijing

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