Alberta’s Koe beats Saskatchewan’s Flasch at Brier in Lethbridge

Alberta’s Kevin Koe scored a single in an additional finish for a 9-8 victory over Saskatchewan’s Colton Flasch on Friday evening as followers returned to the Tim Hortons Brier for the primary time in two years.

Flasch, skipping at a Brier for the primary time, had an opportunity for a game-winning hit within the tenth however settled for one level when his different stone spilled out. Koe had hammer within the additional finish and made a elevate takeout to finish it.

Defending champion Brendan Bottcher edged Ontario’s Glenn Howard 5-4 within the opening round-robin draw on the Enmax Centre. Bottcher gained his first Canadian males’s curling title final yr within the spectator-free bubble in Calgary.

Patrick Janssen moved from fifth to 3rd for the Canada rink as a substitute for Darren Moulding, who was let go final December in a shock break up.

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READ MORE: Moulding prepared for showdown with former crew at Tim Hortons Brier

New Brunswick’s James Grattan, with Moulding at vice, dropped a 7-6 determination to Matt Dunstone’s Wild Card Two crew. Nathan Younger of Newfoundland and Labrador defeated Yukon’s Thomas Scoffin 7-5 within the different recreation.

Flasch threw second stones for Koe in 2019 on a crew that gained world silver on this similar venue. The crew parted methods with Flasch the next yr and changed him with John Morris.

Flasch drew for a pair within the fourth finish and made a runback double-takeout to arrange a steal of two within the fifth. Koe rebounded with a faucet for 3 within the sixth finish and added a deuce within the eighth.

Earlier within the day, 4 athletes set to compete on the Brier didn’t make the journey to Lethbridge, Alta. They examined optimistic for COVID-19 on their pre-departure PCR checks, Curling Canada mentioned in a press release.

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READ MORE: Organizers anticipating good turnout for 2022 Brier after COVID-19 restrictions relaxed

Every competitor performs on a special crew, the federation mentioned, with out figuring out any of the athletes. The gamers remained in isolation of their respective hometowns.

Relying on restoration instances and additional check outcomes, the gamers could also be permitted to take part later within the occasion — which runs by means of March 13 — pending analysis by Curling Canada’s medical workers, the federation mentioned.

All individuals needed to produce unfavourable PCR checks earlier than departure and upon arrival. All arrival PCR checks performed on Thursday got here again unfavourable, Curling Canada mentioned.

Alberta just lately lifted lots of its COVID-19 restrictions. There are not any capability limits on the four-sheet venue and masking is really helpful however not required. Many of the 3,003 followers in attendance Friday evening weren’t carrying masks.

A vaccine passport is just not wanted for fan entry into the venue, however gamers should be absolutely vaccinated with the intention to compete. Along with the PCR checks, athletes can have two speedy checks finished throughout round-robin play.

Two individuals on the 2022 Scotties Match of Hearts — together with skip Tracy Fleury — examined optimistic for the virus earlier than departing for Thunder Bay, Ont., final January.

She joined her wild-card crew halfway by means of the competitors. Kerri Einarson gained her third straight Scotties title on the occasion.

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