Koe claims birthday gift reaching Meridian Canadian Open playoffs

Kevin Koe gets a birthday gift scoring five points in the fifth end to defeat Niklas Edin 7-2 and qualify for the playoffs at the Meridian Canadian Open.

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Kevin Koe celebrated his birthday in style by qualifying for the playoffs in the Meridian Canadian Open.

Koe and his Calgary-based crew cruised into the quarterfinals with a 7-2 victory over Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin during the 12th draw Friday afternoon at Civic Centre.

With the score knotted up 2-2 after four, Koe (3-1) put the game away with a nice gift of a five-ender in the fifth to advance from the B Event of the triple knockout.

The Meridian Canadian Open is the only one of the seven Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournaments to feature triple knockout — instead of round-robin pools — where teams must win three games before they lose three in order to qualify for the playoffs over the course of A, B and C Events.

Edin (2-2) has one more shot out of the C Event finals Saturday morning against Winnipeg’s Team Braden Calvert with the winner moving on and the loser gone.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s Team John Epping edged Winnipeg’s Team Reid Carruthers 4-3 to remain in the C-side mix. Epping (2-2) awaits the loser of the B Event final between Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., and Team Peter de Cruz of Switzerland coming up in the next draw. Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Team Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont., meet in the third B Event final with the loser taking on Winnipeg’s Team Braden Calvert in the C Event finals.

Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher and Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat both advanced Thursday out of the A-side with undefeated 3-0 records.

Team Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., drew for the 6-5 win in the extra end to oust Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg in the women’s C Event semifinals. Fleury (2-2) heads right back out onto the ice to play Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta.

Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones scored two sets of three-enders in a 7-4 victory to eliminate Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man. Jones (2-2) takes on Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni in the next draw.

Edmonton’s Team Chelsea Carey (2-2) also reached the C Event finals following a 7-5 win over Winnipeg’s Team Darcy Robertson. Carey clashes with Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa.

Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan and Scotland’s Team Eve Muirhead advanced out of the A-side on the women’s side at 3-0 Thursday while Edmonton’s Team Laura Walker, Team Nina Roth of the United States and North Battleford’s own Team Robyn Silvernagle qualified through the B Event earlier Friday.

Action continues with the 13th draw at 7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT with broadcast coverage on Sportsnet East, Ontario and Pacific, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: The Meridian Canadian Open is the fifth event and third major of the 2018-19 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the globe. … Standard Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling rules apply: games are played to eight ends, the five-rock rule is in effect and teams receive 33 minutes of thinking time plus two, 90-second timeouts. … The combined purse is $250,000 with the winning teams earning $30,000 plus berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup.

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