OTTAWA — Eighteen of Canada’s best curling teams embarked on Ottawa last Saturday, all with the hopes of earning the right to represent Canada at the Olympics. One men’s team and one women’s team will get that opportunity.
With two days left of round-robin play, the playoff picture is getting a little clearer as teams are slowly being eliminated from contention.
Kevin Koe’s team out of Calgary is the first to earn a spot in the playoffs. They did so Wednesday afternoon by defeating John Epping 6-4.
“Our first goal is done. Obviously that’s great,” Koe said. “Now we just have to get hot on the weekend.”
Koe’s team is undefeated through six games. He’s the only unbeaten men’s team left at the trials.
“I’m feeling good and felt really good out there today,” Koe said after Wednesday’s win.
“It’s the biggest event and you have to do everything you can to get ready. I’m throwing with a lot of confidence out there right now.”
Koe needs just one more win to earn a spot directly into Sunday’s final, something he says is crucial.
“It’s one less chance you have to step out there and possibly lose,” he said. “And it’s always a little reassuring to start with the hammer.”
Brad Gushe defeated Mike McEwen 8-3 Wednesday night to run his record to 4-2. McEwen dropped to 4-2.
Gushue has now won two games in a row and three out of his last four.
“I’d feel better if we were in Koe’s spot but we’re moving in the right direction,” Gushue said. “We’re getting more confident as the week goes on.”
“I thought there would be a logjam up front with ourselves, Jacobs, McEwen, Koe and Carruthers.”
After Gushue and McEwen there are a bunch of teams still trying to find a way into the playoffs.
Brad Jacobs, Reid Carruthers and Brendan Bottcher are still alive, sitting with three losses. Four losses is mathematically still in the playoff picture (but it’s a long shot).
Women’s side still up for grabs
There’s only one women’s undefeated team left at the trials.
Chelsea Carey won an emotional game Wednesday afternoon over reigning Olympic champion Jennifer Jones 7-5 to remain perfect at 5-0.
On Saturday, as the trials were beginning, Carey’s grandfather…