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Koe beats Carruthers to capture first Astec Safety Challenge


With the Season of Champions getting closer, Kevin Koe is heating up. 

Koe and his Calgary-based foursome won the inaugural Astec Safety Challenge on Sunday with a 6-3 win over Winnipeg's Team Reid Carruthers in the championship game. 

Team Koe, also featuring third Tyler Tardi, second Jacques Gauthier and lead Karrick Martin, posted an overall record of 7-1, including playoff wins over Switzerland's Team Yannick Schwaller in the quarterfinal and Scotland's Team Bruce Mouat in the semifinal before downing Team Carruthers in the final. 

It was also an impressive run for Team Carruthers, who have been skipped by Brad Jacobs for the past few events. They defeated the reigning Canadian champions in Team Brad Gushue in the quarters before topping Italy's Team Joel Retornaz, winners of three straight Grand Slams, in the semis. 

Team Brendan Bottcher and Team Niklas Edin also made the playoffs, but lost in the quarterfinals. Team Matt Dunstone (4-3) and Team Mike McEwen (2-3) both failed to qualify. 

Koe and company are now 35-18 this season with their performance in Lloydminster, Sask., being their second bonspiel win and fourth final. 

They were ranked fifth on the Canadian Team Ranking System coming into the event with Alberta playdowns scheduled to run from Feb. 6-11 in Hinton. 

Next up for the defending provincial champs will be the Canadian Open in Red Deer, the last Grand Slam event until the Players' Championship in April.

Over three Grand Slam events in 2023-24, Team Koe has yet top make the playoffs and hold an overall record of 5-7.