Koe in control at the Brier

Alberta skip Kevin Koe shouts to teammates during play against New Brunswick at the Canadian Men's...

Alberta skip Kevin Koe shouts to teammates during play against New Brunswick at the Canadian Men's Curling Championships in Saskatoon on March 4, 2012. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)

Terry Jones, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:40 AM ET

SASKATOON — Jean Simmons sat in the stands here Sunday wearing a blue Saskatoon Brier jacket she purchased at the concession stands.

“I didn’t own anything for curling that wasn’t green,” said Pat Simmons’s mom.

Along with husband Dave, they watched their Saskatchewan son go 3-0 at the Brier here Sunday throwing third rocks for Alberta and come out of the day the only undefeated team remaining after the first weekend of play.

While there were those who were speculating both Ontario’s Howard and Koe could go through this Brier at 10-0 until they faced Thursday night, Howard lost a stunner 10-6 to the Territories when Koe’s brother Jamie hit him for four in an extra end.

It was clear sailing for Simmons and his new Alberta mates here Sunday, though, with one-sided wins while host Saskatchewan managed to get through the day at 2-1 up there with with Howard and the Territories Koe, and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs behind 3-1 Nova Scotia skipped by Jamie Murphy and 3-1 Manitoba skipped by Rob Fowler.

Mr. and Mrs Simmons had an enjoyable weekend watching their son and Saskatchewan succeed.

“We’re Saskatchewan people,” said the mom of the Moose Jaw chiropractor. “We’re here cheering for Saskatchewan, too.

“Except Monday night,” she added. “Then we’re cheering for our son.”

Tonight is when Koe’s Alberta team meets Scott Manners’s one-foot-on-each-side-of-the-border team from Lloydminster.

Saskatchewan vs. Alberta was never like this before.

But maybe Simmons is more Albertan than he’s been reported to be.

“We were both working in Calgary when we decided to move back to Saskatchewan,” said his mom.

“I was expecting Pat when we moved back.”

Whatever, it’s been so good so far for Simmons as he contemplates a game on Monday’s draw which had separate significance going into a Brier which saw some significant things happen.

Not the least of which was Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue having the noose around the neck of Glenn Howard when he missed a shot on the ninth end to provide a steal of two.

That resulted in a 6-5 extra-end loss and an 0-3 start for the 2006 Olympic gold medalists.

At the other end of the standings sat Murphy at 3-0 after a 5-3 win over British Columbia’s Jim Cotter in the morning draw. Murphy, however, finally came down to earth and in a big way as he lost 8-3 to previously winless New Brunswick 8-6 in the evening draw.

Manitoba’s Fowler, who lost his first game Saturday after and rebounded in the nightcap, had a 2-0 day here Sunday with an 8-7 win over the Gushue crew and an 8-3 victory over Prince Edward Island.

Howard’s first loss was hardly expected.

“It proves what I’ve been saying. If you play average, you’re going to lose.” said Howard.

“Jamie played well. They outplayed us.”

Simmons is outplaying everybody here at his position at 88%. And the fans have been cheering his shots.

Simmons who wasn’t sure how he’d be received here having skipped Saskatchewan in four Briers and played third in yet another.

“The fans have been absolutely first class. It’s been a really good experience so far,” said the alleged Albertan who has an apartment in Calgary.

He says he expects the fans to be cheering full-volume for Manners, who came out of the weekend with two wins and a loss after losing 6-5 to B.C. and defeating Quebec by the same score.

“It’s what makes the Brier special. You come here and cheer for your province,” said Simmons, who went 0-4 to start the event in Regina and heard booing.

“You are not going to find any more knowledgeable curling fans than in Saskatchewan,” said the 37-year-old who came out of Alberta’s 9-2 win over Quebec and 9-4 win over New Brunswick a happy camper in his home province.

Koe said he thinks Simmons had been apprehensive.

“He wasn’t sure what to expect. He put his heart and soul into curling for Saskatchewan,” he said of the bone cruncher who made the move with Olympic qualifying in mind.


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