Heartbreak for Koe rink

Blake MacDonald of Team Koe is hugged by his mom Pat MacDonald after losing to Team Martin 9-7...

Blake MacDonald of Team Koe is hugged by his mom Pat MacDonald after losing to Team Martin 9-7 during the 2007 Alberta Kia Cup at the Omniplex in Drayton Valley, Alta., on Sunday. (Sun Media/Jason Franson)

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

DRAYTON VALLEY -- Stunned. Speechless. Distraught. Take your description.

Blake MacDonald stood, shoulders slumped, in a state of disbelief at the closing ceremony.

He grabbed his trophy and tucked it under his arm.

Trouble is, the runner-up trophy was not the one he came here to win.

He had the game against seven-time champ Kevin Martin won. Had his first trip to the Brier as a last-rock thrower in the bag.

All he needed to do was make one draw.

STEAL, STEAL, LOSS

But curling can be a cruel mistress - a steal in 10 on a sweeping call; a steal in an extra end on a heavy draw, and you have a 9-7 loss.

"Not now," MacDonald said as he made his way back to the locker-room to cool down.

The normally talkative curler was speechless as he held his 10-month-old daughter Bronwyn in his arms.

MacDonald has lost Alberta finals twice before, both to Randy Ferbey while throwing last rock for Jamie King in 2003 and 2005.

Did this one hurt more than the other two?

"Yep," said MacDonald later.

"I haven't missed a shot like that all year," said MacDonald. "I haven't missed a draw like that one - or the one in 10 - all year.

"I don't know what's going through my head now. I don't know what to tell you."

Skip Kevin Koe is no stranger to heartbreaking losses.

In 1994, his apparent win in the Canadian juniors over Edmonton's Colin Davison was turned over when it was ruled a team member had kicked the winning rock off before it had stopped.

"That's as tough as it'll ever get," said Koe, who came much closer to his first Alberta title this year than he had in three years with John Morris.

Koe's team outcurled Martin's at every position yesterday except at lead.

"A chance like that might never come again. We're a good team. We've been together for four or five months. We should have won this and I'll leave it at that.

"For us, no matter who it was we played, it was about our chance to get to the Brier."

Second Carter Rycroft missed out a chance for his second straight Brier appearance.

'STING FOR A WHILE'

He was part of Martin's team last year.

"This one's going to sting for a while," said Rycroft. "But, I've learned from these guys if you put yourself in this position enough times, you're bound to win a few. Today wasn't one of those days.

"We just have to get there enough times so we learn how to win, right?

"Myself, I'm OK.

"I've been fortunate enough to have been to a couple of Briers.

"I knew this was going to be a tough battle. "We put ourselves in a position we wanted to be in."

It was there for the taking.

And, it's going to take MacDonald a while to get over this one.


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