Bottcher wins Champions Cup to earn 3rd straight GSOC title

Team Bottcher won their third straight Slam, taking the Champions Cup Mens Final.

SASKATOON — The Bottcher express rolled through the Humpty’s Champions Cup to finish off their season.

Brendan Bottcher and his Edmonton-based club capped an undefeated 7-0 run through the final Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of 2018-19 edging out Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe 6-5 in an extra end Sunday at Merlis Belsher Place.

The foursome of Bottcher, third Darren Moulding, second Bradley Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin collected $40,000 from the $250,000 combined purse and also secured a spot back to the Humpty’s Champions Cup for next season.

“Amazing,” Bottcher said, “We’ve had such a great year, such a great 2019 and I think it’s so fitting we had to battle right down to the end against Koe. It feels great going into the summer now knowing we’re on the top and we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll have some success.”

Bottcher also won the Meridan Canadian Open and Players’ Championship to cap the campaign winning three consecutive titles in the series becoming just the fourth skip ever — after Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard and Rachel Homan — to accomplish the feat.

“It’s incredible,” Bottcher said. “The depth here at these Slams is so deep and to win one of them is so tough. To win three of them over the course of your career is tough. To win three in a row, we definitely got our share of the breaks but we’ve been playing well here these last few months and that’s the biggest part.”

It was a rubber match with the teams also meeting in the Brier final last month and the Players’ Championship just two weeks ago.

The Brier champion and world silver medallist Koe cracked open the scoring with a steal in the first as Bottcher attempted to draw around his own rock but rubbed and rolled away.

Bottcher bounced back big time in the second stanza to take back Sunday. Koe attempted a crazy in-off angle to try and get to Bottcher’s shot rock but rolled under. That allowed Bottcher to ease in his last with a draw for three and he hit the button just for target practice.

Koe countered with a deuce in four to knot it up heading into the break and Bottcher matched counting a couple in five to re-establish the two-point gap at 5-3.

The Pinty’s Cup winner Koe was forced to a single in six but managed to get the tying point in eight by drawing to the button and having two of Bottcher’s own stones protecting as catchers. Bottcher attempted to pick it out but Koe’s counter bounced off of both stones and stuck around to steal.

Koe wasn’t able to get another magic steal in the extra end though as his last couldn’t outmatch the counter on the button and Bottcher didn’t need to throw his last.

“I really think the three early set the tone,” Bottcher said. “From that moment forward, we were always in control and they were always chasing. He made an amazing shot in the eighth end on his last and he needed one more that good again in nine and luckily, we got a little bit of break.”

Team Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland top Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., 6-3 for the women’s title.

Notes: The Humpty’s Champions Cup was the seventh and final Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the season. Teams had to win a top tour event in order to qualify for the event. … A new rule was being tested at the event where teams could not perform tick shots on rocks sitting on the centre line during the eighth and extra ends. … The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling returns in the fall with the Canadian Beef Masters, Oct. 22-27, taking place at Memorial Gardens in North Bay, Ont.

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