EDMONTON - HIGH RIVER, Alta. — To go from Brier and world champions to provincial runners-up would have been easier to take if the runners-up had shown up.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if we’d played well,” said Carter Rycroft. “In my opinion, they were there for the taking,” said Kevin Koe’s second on the Edmonton Saville Centre team that also includes Blake MacDonald and Nolan Thiessen.
“If we’d put the pressure on them, I think we’d have beat them. But we missed too many shots,” he said after watching Kevin Martin make his last shot in the last end to replace Koe as provincial champion.
“For us, there are two teams we have had so much trouble beating and it’s those two teams we have to beat to prove ourselves,” said Rycroft.
“We had trouble beating Glenn Howard until the Brier final last year. I think we were 3-12 or something like that in big games against them. But finally we beat them in the final of the Brier.
“We were hoping to do the same against Martin (Sunday),” said the second who won Olympic silver with Martin at Salt Lake 2002.
“It sucks to lose,” said Koe of the Boston Pizza Cup. “They are the best team in the world, but we didn’t play as well as we can play. That’s what makes it worse.”
While it was the Olympic champion versus the world champion in the final as expected, this competition will be remembered for three teams, not two.
At a time when people were wondering if the Peace zone deserved to be awarded two berths every year, 25-year-old 11th seed Geoff Walker emerged to steal some of the scene.
Walker not only defeated six-time Brier champion Randy Ferbey and Brier and world champ Koe to win the B event, he gave Martin a battle in the 1-2 game.
Sunday, despite giving up three to Koe in the second end, the kids from Grande Prairie put the pressure on and put Koe in a position to flash with last rock on both the seventh and ninth ends to take a 7-7 tie into the 10th.
“Walker! Walker! Walker!” the sold-out crowd chanted.
Koe had to draw the four foot to win it.
“Nothing has come easy this week,” he said as he left the ice to prepare for the final.
But mostly, he wanted to talk about the team he beat.
“A few people figured they were a little lucky earlier in the week. But they played great,” said Koe.
Walker said he’s sure, as they make the long hike home, they won’t be thinking too much about what could have been.
“We’re not too disappointed,” he said of his team of Tom Sallows, Mike Westlund and Adam Lamers.
“If you told us when we came here that we’d finish third, we’d take it. And we definitely had our chances.”
If there is reason to think of the what-could-have-beens it would be from the seventh end when he could have drawn for three but went for a nose hit raise double takeout which could have given him four. The result ended up in a measurement and only scoring two.
“I could have drawn for three. But we talked about it. Against another team, maybe,” said Walker.
“But this was Kevin Koe and against a team like that, we figured you need to take some chances and that we needed to make that shot to win. Everybody on the team was for it.
“We just went into the game hoping to make him throw his last one.
“That’s what happened. And he made it.”
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