Making it to the semi-final of the Brier is already a success for Brendan Bottcher.
But he’s happy he’ll be fighting for even more.
The 26-year-old skip from Sherwood Park, Alta., came up clutch in the 10th and 11th ends against perennial favourite Brad Jacobs and won the match 6-5 in the extra end.
“We needed a pretty big hero shot there and I’m pretty proud of the guys stopping that one back button and at least making him shoot,” Bottcher said of the draw he made with his last rock of the game.
Jacobs shot missed allowing Alberta to score and move on.
“It was a phenomenal shot, absolutely phenomenal shot,” Jacobs said after the match. “To be honest with you I didn’t think he was making that shot, that’s a ridiculously tough shot and he made it look easy.”
While those two shots were picture perfect for Bottcher, he wasn’t too happy with the overall game.
“I thought this game was a little rocky I mean it’s we’re in playoffs at the Brier now,” he said.
But there have been rocky moments all week for Bottcher and his team – vice-skip Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin – and they’ve been able to overcome them all.
Alberta started their Brier off on a loss and looked to be heading for their second against B.C. when they scored four on Alberta in the third end, but Alberta grinded out a win then went on to topple Team Canada and the Wild Card team later in the week. They teetered on the edge of elimination on Friday night when a loss would have sent them to a tiebreaker. Instead, Bottcher rallied, no tiebreaker required.
“I think it takes something a little bit more to win when it’s tough and when you’re missing a few shots here or there or you’re feeling the pressure. I think that’s just a testament to how tough we are as a group and how much we’re going to grind through and find a way to win.”
And, he said, this is a team that has always stuck close together. They opted to come into the Brier without a coach or an alternate because they didn’t want to disrupt their chemistry.
“We’ve experimented a little bit this year with a few things and we found that we’re a pretty tight-knit group. There’s a lot of teams here at the Brier that all have their own room and they have their coach and they have their alternate, they come play their games and then they all go their own way, that’s not really our team,” Bottcher said.
“With so many ups and downs all week you have to stick together you have to keep talking about things and you just have to accept that things aren’t going to go to plan,” Bottcher continued. “But at the end the day we have each others’ backs and I’m just so proud of everything we’ve been able to do.”
Gushue curls at 100%, moves on to the final
It seems nothing phases Brad Gushue, not even the fact that he curled at 100% during his match against John Epping’s Team Ontario Saturday night.
“(The officials) were generous, I rolled out when I was trying to stick so it should have probably been a couple points, maybe 98, but the marker was nice to me, I’ll take it,” he said.
Gushue was in control of the 1 vs 2 page playoff scoring a deuce in the second end and then again in the sixth. The two teams shook hands after the ninth end.
The win means that Gushue and Team Canada will head straight to the finals on Sunday night, while Ontario will play Bottcher in the semi-finals at 11 a.m.
The winner of that game will move on to play Gushue for the championship.