Red-hot Bottcher tops Koe in Okotoks final ahead of PointsBet Invitational
With the PointsBet Invitational just a few days away, Brendan Bottcher’s Calgary foursome is getting hot at the perfect time.
Team Bottcher won their second bonspiel of the young 2023-24 season on Sunday night, defeating provincial rival Team Kevin Koe of Calgary in the final of the ATB Okotoks Classic, 4-3.
Bottcher drew to the four-foot in the extra end to pick up the single point and the win.
Bottcher and his team of third Marc Kennedy, second Brett Gallant and lead Ben Hebert went a perfect 6-0 in Okotoks and have now won 13 of their 14 games this season after capturing the Saville Shootout in Edmonton earlier this month.
It was the second straight year Team Bottcher defeated Team Koe in the Okotoks final.
Bottcher and company, who are in their second season as a foursome, will be seeded second at the PointsBet Invitational and will play No. 15 Team Jacob Dobson, the 2023 Canadian College Champions, in Thursday’s Sweep 16.
The second annual PointsBet Invitational begins Wednesday in Oakville, Ont., as 16 men and 16 women teams will compete in a single elimination tournament for a $350,000 purse, including $50,000 going to the winning teams.
Despite the loss, Koe’s crew had a very strong week in their first event of the season, beating Manitoba’s Team Matt Dunstone in the quarterfinal and Saskatchewan’s Team Mike McEwen in the semifinal.
Koe, McEwen and Dunstone are all headed to Oakville for the PointsBet Invitational as will Team Aaron Sluchinski, who were eliminated in the quarters.
Team Rylan Kleiter and Team Karsten Sturmay will be there too, but both missed the playoffs in Okotoks.
The event had a purse of $50,000.
International rinks dominate Shorty Jenkins
The annual AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins in Cornwall, Ont., is one of the more notable bonspiels on tour and this year’s version featured a pair of international finals.
On the women’s side, it was Silvana Tirinzoni and her juggernaut rink from Switzerland who defeated Japan’s Team Sayaka Yoshimura in the final, 8-4, to claim their second bonspiel victory in two weeks.
Tirinzoni, fourth Alina Paetz, second Selina Witschonke and lead Carole Howald have won all 14 games this season after perfect runs at the Shorty Jenkins and last week’s Women’s Masters Basel in Switzerland.
Tirinzoni and Paetz have led the Swiss to four straight World Women’s Curling Championships and are showing no signs of slowing down.
The women’s playoff field featured only one rink from Canada as British Columbia’s Team Clancy Grandy, who are seeded fifth for the PointsBet Invitational, lost in the quarters to Team Yoshimura.
Team Jennifer Jones (3-2), Team Danielle Inglis (2-3) and Isabelle Ladouceur (1-4) all missed the playoffs ahead of their appearance at the PointsBet.
It was a similar story on the men’s side with Scotland’s Team Ross Whyte downing Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin, 7-6, in an extra end final.
White’s team from Stirling, with Robin Brydone at vice, Duncan McFadzean at second and Euan Kyle at lead dropped their first game of the week to Italy’s Team Joel Retornaz before reeling off seven straight wins.
They eliminated Team Brad Gushue, the two-time defending Canadian champions, in the quarterfinal and Quebec’s Team Felix Asselin in the semifinal.
Gushue, who was playing in his first event of the season, is the No. 1 seed for the PointsBet Invitational.
Team Reid Carruthers, seeded fifth, lost in the quarters to Team Retornaz while No. 8 Team John Epping, No. 11 Team Glenn Howard and No. 14 Team Sam Mooibroek all missed the playoffs in Cornwall ahead of the March Madness style tournament.
Both the men’s and women’s events had purses of $60,000.
Changes in Sweden
Could there a changing of the guard in Swedish women’s curling?
For the first time since 2015, the country will have a new representative at the European Curling Championships after Team Isabella Wrana defeated Team Anna Hasselborg in the best-of-seven qualifier.
Wrana, third Almida de Val, second Maria Larsson and lead Linda Stenlund won the first three games of the series before Team Hasselborg won two in a row to force a Game 6.
Team Wrana scored a single in the eighth end of Game 6 to win 6-5 and take the series 4-2.
Team Hasselborg have been the face of Swedish curling since 2017, representing the nation at six World Women’s Curling Championships and two Olympics. They won the gold medal at the 2018 Olympics, bronze at the 2022 Olympics, silver at the worlds in 2018 and 2019 and gold at the 2018 and 2019 European Championships.
However, Team Wrana, led by their 26-year-old skip, have been making noise of their own recently, highlighted by picking up their first Grand Slam victory at the Players’ Championship at the end of last season.
The 2023 European Curling Championships run from Nov. 18-25 in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Jessica Daigle wins out East
Team Jessica Daigle of Halifax won the Curling Store Cashspiel in Lower Sackville, N.S., with a close 4-3 victory over the two-time defending provincial champs in Team Christina Black in the final, 4-3.
Team Daigle won all six of their games at the six-team event
Team Black will now head to Oakville for the PointsBet Invitational where they’ll be ranked sixth.
Sherry Anderson beats Robyn Silvernagle in Saskatoon
It’s still too early to predict Saskatchewan’s representative for the 2024 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but Sunday's Great Western Brewing Bonspiel final in Saskatoon featured two rinks that could make a strong run at the provincial title in a few months.
Sherry Anderson, a 10-time provincial champion, defeated Robyn Silvernagle, who competed in her third national championship last year in Kamloops, in Sunday’s final, 8-3.
Team Nancy Martin, who are seeded 11th at the PointsBet, fell in the quarterfinal round.
In the men's final, Team Jason Jacobson defeated Team Kelly Knapp, 6-3.
Tabitha Peterson, Daniel Casper win Blaine bonspiel
South of the border, it was Team Tabitha Peterson and Team Daniel Casper who won the Curve US Open of Curling in Blaine, Minnesota.
On the women’s side, Team Peterson defeated Team Sarah Anderson in the final, 5-3, while Team Casper dropped Team Korey Dropkin in the men’s final, 6-3.
Curling on the Rock
For the second straight season, Team Nathan Young won the Rick Rowsell Classic in St. John's, Nfld.
Team Brooke Godsland won the women's event.