It will be Kevin Koe against Brad Jacobs in Sunday’s men’s final at the 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup after Koe rallied for a 7-5 win over Brad Gushue in Saturday’s semifinal.
Two uncharacteristic misses by Gushue, and a refusal to go away by Koe and his Calgary teammates, led to a stunning reversal in the game, turning a 5-1, sixth-end Gushue lead into a Koe victory.
Gushue, the reigning two-time Tim Hortons Brier champion had a chance to put the game away in the eighth end and a chance to win it in the 10th, but both times he failed to do so.
A straight-forward Gushue draw to the button in the eighth sailed wide, giving Koe and his team a steal of two, a 6-6 tie and new life.
“Obviously my missed draw in eight was what cost us the game,” Gushue said after. “I threw it a little heavy, it slid a little further than I thought. But I have two of the best sweepers in the world and I have to use them, so that’s totally on me.”
Koe was heading off for a washroom break at the time but knowing nothing is safe on ice, he was keeping his eye on Gushue’s shot.
“I was actually peeking through the curtains,” he admitted. “I never expected him to miss, but I heard them say it was heavy … so I kept my eye on it. I don’t know the last time I’ve seen him do that, especially against me in a big game, he doesn’t miss those. So that got us back to even and we played a great nine and 10.
Sunday’s final starts at 7
Jennifer Jones rode a three-ender in the fourth to an 8-4 victory over Rachel Homan in the women’s semifinal
Jones and her teammates from Winnipeg will play Kerri Einarson of Gimili, Man., in Sunday’s final at 2 p.m.
Both teams played cautiously through three ends, tied 1-1, but Jones made the first break in the fourth whe Homan missed a double attempt with her final stone leaving Jones with a wide open draw for three.
“Getting a three against such a great team changed the momentum a bit,” Jones said of the pivotal end. “We made some big shots when we needed them. Even when it got a little scary in eight we managed to hold them to two so all-in-all, pretty happy with our performance.”
One of the few potential chances Homan had to get back into the game came in the eighth when a Lawes shot to eliminate a guard ended up taking out two Jones stones in the house and leaving Homan with three counters. Jones made a double with her final stone and Homan had to draw for two.
Jones will now have a rematch with Einarson, who beat her 6-3 in the round robin. Asked what her team will have to do different to beat Einarson, Jones said: “I have to play better. I didn’t play very well in the round-robin (game). They’re a tremendous team, tons of great shots from them so we’ll have to be sharp from lead to skip through 10 ends.”
Sunday’s winners receives $14,000 (the losing side gets $9,000), a berth into the 2021 Tim Hortons Road to the Roar Pre-Trials and qualify for a World Curling Federation Curling World Cup event during the 2019-20 season.
Both games can be seen on TSN.