Provincial Curling Live: Bottcher retains Alberta Boston Pizza Cup

Watch as Brendan Bottcher takes a commanding 7-2 lead by hitting his own rock to score 4.

Men’s provincial curling championships were underway Sunday from coast to coast to determine reps for the upcoming Tim Hortons Brier.

Here’s a rundown of news, scores and results from all the action.


Jump to: Alberta | B.C. | Manitoba | Newfoundland & Labrador | Ontario | Saskatchewan | Tim Hortons Brier field


ALBERTA

Brendan Bottcher has made it back-to-back Alberta Boston Pizza Cup titles.

Bottcher successfully defended the title with a decisive 9-3 victory over Karsten Sturmay in Sunday’s final in Spruce Grove.

Sturmay stole one in the second to score first in the all-Edmonton match but it was all Bottcher from there.

Bottcher hit for two in the third and got his stolen point back in four when Sturmay over-curled and clicked a guard with his last. Sturmay pulled off the high-pressure draw for one in the fifth.

The game-breaker came in the sixth when Bottcher hit off his own to get in and eliminate Sturmay’s shot rock and score four and take a commanding 7-2 lead.

Sturmay blanked seven and hit on the nose for one in the eighth. A circus quad attempt was Sturmay’s Hail Mary to try and close the gap in nine, but only three disappeared and Bottcher drew for two bringing out handshakes.

Bottcher reached the final following a 7-6 win over Sturmay in Saturday’s Page A-B playoff game. Daylan Vavrek of Sexsmith edged Edmonton’s Charley Thomas 7-6 in the Page C-C game.

Sturmay eliminated Vavrek 7-5 earlier Sunday in the semifinal.


B.C.

Kelowna’s Sean Geall scored two in the extra end to edge Vernon’s Jim Cotter 9-7 for the belairdirect B.C. men’s championship Sunday in Parkville

Geall captured his second provincial title and first since 2009.

It was back and forth to start with the teams trading singles in two and three and deuces in four and five. Cotter was held to a single in six and limited Geall to one in seven.

Cotter added another deuce in eight and Geall finally took the lead with a three count in nine. The seven-time B.C. champ Cotter was held to just another point in 10 to force the extra end where Geall prevailed.

Earlier, Geall stole two in the eighth during a 6-5 win over Victoria’s Jason Montgomery in the semifinal.

Cotter, who had won four consecutive B.C. championships, advanced straight to final with a 6-2 victory over Geall in Saturday’s Page 1-2 playoff game. That dropped Geall into the second-chance semifinal against Montgomery, who beat Dean Joanisse of Maple Ridge 7-4 in the Page 3-4 playoff game.

Cotter returned to skipping the squad with John Morris getting ready to represent Canada in mixed doubles at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Catlin Schneider moved up to third with Tyrel Griffith returning to second and Rick Sawatsky back in the lineup at lead.


MANITOBA

Reid Carruthers is heading back to the Brier at Team Manitoba.

Carruthers, who plays out of West St. Paul, captured the Viterra Championship after defeating Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen 7-6 in Sunday’s final in Winkler.

After a blank to start, Carruthers hit and stuck around for a deuce in the second end and McEwen matched with a pair in three. Carruthers counted another couple in four but McEwen couldn’t keep the pace and settled for just a single in five.

Carruthers hit for a point in six and stole one in seven to extend his lead by three. McEwen drew closer with another deuce in eight and erased the deficit stealing in nine as Carruthers hit and rolled away.

Carruthers made no mistake on his last in the 10th hitting for the win.

B.J. Neufeld had been skipping with McEwen hospitalized after falling ill with chicken pox Thursday following their first victory of the tournament. Team McEwen pushed forward as a trio with vice Neufeld shifting up to last stones and second Matt Wozniak and lead Denni Neufeld each throwing three rocks. With Neufeld in charge, the team went on a four-game winning streak before losing to Carruthers 7-3 in the Page 1-2 playoff game.

Team McEwen moved into the championship game after defeating J.T. Ryan 6-2 in the morning semifinal. McEwen was released in time for the final and threw third stones with Neufeld remaining at fourth.

During the semifinal, Ryan made a runback on his own guard in the first but just missed the rock allowing Neufeld to draw the button for two. Neufeld sat a couple counters in the second forcing Ryan to draw for a single, but he was tight to his own higher up in the house and crashed out to give up a steal.

After Neufeld made a cross-house double in three, Ryan hit and rolled out to blank the board. Ryan was forced to a single in the fourth and Neufeld matched with a point in the fifth although it was a missed opportunity as he had a draw for two that rolled heavy.

Another Neufeld double takeout in six led to Ryan blanking again. Looking at two in the four-foot circle, Ryan hit the top one but didn’t roll in far enough and conceded another point.

Ryan, who recently won bronze at the Canadian junior championship, defeated Steve Irwin of Brandon 5-3 in the Page 3-4 playoff game.

The team of Carruthers, third Braeden Moskowy, second Derek Samagalski and lead Colin Hodgson captured the Manitoba title during their first season together in 2015. Carruthers also claimed three provincial titles while playing with legendary skip Jeff Stoughton as well as Brier and world championships in 2011.

McEwen will still have another chance at qualifying for the Brier via the wildcard play-in game as the clear No. 1 ranked club on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS).

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

Greg Smith is Brier-bound after capturing the Newfoundland and Labrador Tankard.

Smith defeated Andrew Symonds 9-6 during Sunday’s final in St. John’s.

Team Smith advanced straight to the final with two chances to win the provincial championship after clearing the round-robin table with an unblemished 8-0 record. Symonds, who went 6-2 in preliminary play, defeated Adam Boland 6-4 in the semifinal Saturday and struck first in the championship round defeating Smith 9-4.

It’ll be the first time Brad Gushue will not represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the Brier since 2006. Gushue, a 14-time provincial winner, captured his first national championship last season and earned an auto-berth to return to the Brier as Team Canada.


ONTARIO

Toronto’s John Epping is off to the Brier for the first time in his career.

Epping, who had finished runner-up twice before, topped Glenn Howard 5-1 in Sunday’s final of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario Tankard in Huntsville.

Howard blanked six ends to start, but it was Epping who finally broke open the scoring stealing two in the seventh. A force in eight put Howard on the board and Epping added three more points in nine.

The 17-time Ontario Tankard champion Howard, from Tiny, Ont., beat Epping during the A final of the triple knockout and again in the Page 1-2 playoff game to reach the final. Epping advanced to the championship game after defeating Codey Maus of London 6-4 in the semifinal Sunday morning.


SASKATCHEWAN

Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock captured his seventh Saskatchewan title and will represent the home team at the Tim Hortons Brier in Regina.

Laycock dropped a five count in the fifth and held on for a 9-7 win over former teammate Colton Flasch in the SaskTel Tankard final Sunday in Estevan.

After Laycock stole one in the first, Flasch scored a deuce in the second for a 2-1 lead. Laycock blanked back-to-back ends waiting patiently for his opportunity and struck big time for five points in the fifth.

Flasch, also from Saskatoon, settled for a single in six. Laycock put two more on the board in seven and Flasch matched in eight to cut the deficit back to three points and closed within one by stealing a pair in nine.

Fourth Matt Dunstone, who took over for Flasch on the squad, had to make a nose hit on his last in the 10th and delivered.

Laycock won three consecutive provincial titles from 2014-16 but fell in last year’s final to Adam Casey. He was on the ropes earlier qualifying for the Page playoffs through the C side of the triple knockout.

Flasch crushed Virtue 7-1 during Saturday’s Page A-B playoff game while Laycock rolled right past Scott Bitz 8-2 in the Page C-C playoff game. Laycock earned a 7-3 win over Brock Virtue of Unity in Sunday’s morning semifinal.


TIM HORTONS BRIER FIELD

The Tim Hortons Brier runs March 3-11 in Regina. The winner of the Brier will represent Canada at the world championship in Las Vegas taking place March 31 to April 8.

A wildcard play-in game will be held on the eve of the Brier between the top two teams based on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) who have not yet qualified.

Team Skip/Playdown Dates
Canada Brad Gushue
Alberta Brendan Bottcher
B.C. Sean Geall
Manitoba Reid Carruthers
New Brunswick Feb. 7-11
Newfoundland & Labrador Greg Smith
Northern Ontario Feb. 7-11
Northwest Territories Feb. 7-11
Nova Scotia Jamie Murphy
Nunavut Dave St. Louis
Ontario John Epping
P.E.I. Eddie MacKenzie
Quebec Feb. 4-11
Saskatchewan Steve Laycock
Yukon Thomas Scoffin
Wild-Card March 2

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