Kevin Koe beats Charley Thomas, Captures 2016 Alberta Curling Crown
By: Jason Hills - Feb 15, 2016
CAMROSE, Alta. — The dynasty on ice continues for Kevin Koe and other skips named Kevin.
Charley Thomas went toe-to-toe with Koe twice during the 2016 Boston Pizza Cup playoffs, but on Sunday in the battle of Youth vs. Experience Round 2, Koe’s team came through with an 8-4 victory to punch their ticket to the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa, March 5-13.
Koe captured his third straight Alberta men’s curling title and fifth in six years, while third Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert won their seventh (they had won five others with Kevin Martin) and second Brent Laing won his second.
It marks 11 straight years that either Koe or Martin have claimed the provincial title.
“It never gets old, especially when you have to fight this hard to get here,” said Koe, who won the title for the first time through the B event and who had to beat Brendan Bottcher in the semifinal earlier in the day. “You never know when you’ll get back. There’s a lot of good up-and-coming teams and it was evident because we ran up against them (this week).
“This year it seemed like we ran up against some hot skips. Yesterday, Charley, and today (Brendan) Bottcher, and Charley made some great shots. It feels good, because we really had to grind it out.”
It’s fitting that Koe pulled off the three-peat on the strength of a triple takeout in the third end to score three.
Down 2-1, Koe made the game’s biggest shot of the game. Any momentum Thomas built off his first playoff win against Koe, and having the early lead in the final, was gone.
“I thought it was there. I didn’t know if it was for three or four, but it wasn’t easy we had to get by the guard,” Koe said. “We needed a big shot to get some momentum going our way, and that was probably the turning point.
“We’ve had a great year, and the boys played awesome today. Hardly any misses from all three of them. Shooting, sweeping, they did everything and they saved their best game for last.”
For Thomas, his rink out of Calgary’s Glencoe Club had an impressive run to the final.
Despite being ranked eighth in the world, Thomas and his crew of third Nathan Connolly, second Brandon Klassen, and lead D.J. Kidby haven’t got a lot of notoriety, because the first-year team hasn’t played much on the World Curling Tour.
That will change now, as his team showed they have a very bright future.
“We proved this week it can be done,” Thomas said. “We beat (Koe) in the 1-2 game, but they were sharp today and we were little flat. We knew we’d need another game of our lives today and we didn’t.”
Koe jumped on Thomas early with a steal in the opening end. After Koe’s big end in the third, Thomas was forced to chase the rest of the way.
The teams traded singles in ends five through eight, but in the ninth, Koe’s team played a perfect end, forcing Thomas to try an extremely difficult quadruple takeout to try to hold the hammer, and it ended in a steal of two for Koe.
“Everything maybe turned out as it should,” Thomas said. “In reality, this is our first big game we’ve played in as a team, and you can’t expect immediate success, but we have a lot to be proud of.”
What makes his fifth provincial title even sweeter for Koe is that he keeps the string of Brier appearances going within his family.
His brother Jamie will make his eighth straight trip to the Brier and 10th overall.
“It’s a good omen,” Koe said. “He’s been there for them all, and he’ll be there again this year, so it’s good for the family.”
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