BANFF, Alberta -- Team Kevin Koe shut out Team Reid Carruthers Saturday afternoon to book their spot in the Sunday’s TSN All-Star Curling Skins Final and win $21,000.
"It feels good to win this and get to another final. We'll be in tough against Brendan [Bottcher]. We're probably going to run into him next week at provincials too, so we want to come out and play well again," Koe said.
The defending Skins champion Koe began with the hammer, but Team Carruthers skip Mike McEwen executed a brilliant draw on the only piece of paint he could hit to force the first end carryover
After another carryover in the second, the third end was a clinic of brilliant shotmaking by the two skips, who traded back-and-forth precision shots culminating in yet another carryover. The drama continued to build in the fourth with impressive shots by both thirds before McEwen missed a difficult tap back to keep the game scoreless at the half. Koe finally broke the deadlock in the fifth, winning $7000 to end the longest stretch of carryovers at this event since John Morris won a single $19,000 skin to defeat Koe in a 2015 semifinal matchup. Koe then stole $3000 in the sixth, extending his lead by forcing McEwen to attempt a difficult runback double that proved unsuccessful.
McEwen used the hammer to draw for the carryover in the seventh, putting $11,000 at stake in the decisive final end. Despite McEwen's brilliant runback to claim shot rock with his last stone, it wasn't enough, as Koe executed a perfect thin angle raise to score two and complete the shutout.
"It was a well-played game by both teams, solid up and down the lineup. In a skins game you have a lot of hard shots to make, and it could have gone either way. We've played quite a bit of skins, and it suits the way I call a game, and the way I throw a game. I love playing it. It's just a lot of fun,” Koe said.
"What I saw from us is a pretty good product going into next week. Even though the outcome wasn't what we wanted, there were heck of a lot of good shots today. BJ and Koe were making really good shots, and even though we got shut out, that was an entertaining game to be part of. This is my fourth time here in Banff, and that's the best I've seen the ice. We're off to our provincial championship, hopefully we have a good run, because the winner drives just down the road to Brandon for the Brier,” McEwen said.