Bottcher earns another crack at Brier title

Edmonton-based Team Wild Card defeated Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 5-4 in a tight-scoring semi-final of the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier at Westoba Place.

After knocking out Team Canada Saturday, the fourth-seeded Brendan Bottcher rink from Edmonton earned a berth to his second consecutive Tim Hortons Brier championship final by defeating Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 5-4 Sunday afternoon.

The tight, low-scoring contest saw Bottcher lead a patient strategy against a Jacobs team that went unbeaten through round robin play then dropped three of their next four games.

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Team Wild Card’s semi-final victory sets up an all-Alberta Brier final match against Team Alberta’s Kevin Koe this evening at Westoba Place in Brandon. Bottcher curls out of Edmonton.

This afternoon’s game had Jacobs score a pair of singles in the first two ends, drawing for one then stealing another with a missed shot by Bottcher. Wild Card bounced back with a deuce in the third end after Jacobs missed a bump and stick with his last stone.

The first half closed with Northern Ontario forced to take one in the fourth then good defense forced Wild Card to do the same in the fifth to knot the score at three.

After a scoreless sixth, Jacobs made a raise-takeout to remove two, buried Wild Card stones in the four-foot and score a single. Had the risk-reward choice of shot worked as planned, Northern Ontario could have scored up to four.

Bottcher blanked the eighth and without an opportunity to score more than one, did the same in the ninth, allowing him to hold the hammer in the final end. Down 4-3 at the time, Bottcher scored a pair with a raise involving two Northern Ontario guard stones onto his own in the four-foot. The game ended 5-4.

Bottcher’s Wild Card rink will meet Alberta’s Kevin Koe for the 2019 men’s national curling title at 7 p.m. this evening. Their previous meeting on Thursday saw Alberta score three in the final end for a 7-6 victory.

Koe will be attempting to win his fourth national championship, while Bottcher is looking for his first after falling to Brad Gushue in the 2018 Brier final in Regina, Sask.

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