Bizarre and wild game sees Saskatchewan on the brink of elimination at the Montana’s Brier

The Team Saskatchewan Mike McEwen rink find themselves in a must-win situation after Friday afternoon’s 9-7 loss to Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher.

McEwen faced two Alberta rocks buried in the first end, forcing him to draw to the four-foot for a single point to open the scoring.

Some controversy in the second end, as Alberta third Marc Kennedy accidentally kicked a Saskatchewan sweeper’s broom behind the T-line. It resulted in Saskatchewan burning an Alberta rock, but the two teams agreed to move it back about 10 inches. Bottcher was able to make a light hit for two in the end.

Saskatchewan had an opportunity to draw for two after Bottcher missed a double takeout attempt. McEwen was successful in drawing to the four-foot, much to the delight of the Brandt Centre faithful, giving Saskatchewan a 3-2 lead.

In the fourth end, Bottcher made a tremendous triple takeout. With his second, he was able to draw into the four-foot for another score of two, retaking a one-point lead.

McEwen made a hit-and-stick for two in the fifth end, heading to the break with a 5-4 lead.

Bottcher returned with his own score of two in the sixth end, thanks to a hit-and-stick, restoring Alberta’s one-point advantage.

On McEwen’s last in the seventh, he elected to hit an Alberta yellow stone that sat just outside the rings in front of another Alberta stone that was counting. McEwen made the double, leading to a blank end, holding onto the hammer into the eighth end.

McEwen had a difficult shot for one in the eighth end to try and score one. He had to tick his own red into a pile of yellow rocks. He missed it outside, giving Alberta a steal of two and growing the lead to three.

McEwen’s first in the ninth was a double takeout, allowing Saskatchewan to sit two. After Bottcher hit and rolled to Saskatchewan’s second-shot stone, McEwen was able to tap back the Alberta yellow to score his deuce. Saskatchewan trailed by one heading into the tenth end.

There was drama in the tenth end, as Alberta lead Ben Hebert burned Marc Kennedy’s final stone as it was heading down the ice. The rocks were replaced, and play resumed shortly after. McEwen missed his final shot narrow, giving Alberta the 9-7 win.

It’s a quick turnaround for Team Saskatchewan, as they face The Northwest Territories Friday night for a chance to advance to the 3-4 page playoff game.

In the other 1-2 qualifier, Brad Gushue made his final draw to defeat Manitoba’s Team Carruthers, skipped by Brad Jacobs 9-7. It will now be an all-Manitoba matchup to see who advances to the 3-4 page playoff game, as Team Carruthers will play Matt Dunstone.

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