In the end there was no stopping Team Bottcher at the Meridian Canadian Open.
The Alberta team of skip Brendan Bottcher, third Darren Moulding, second Bradley Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin scored a 6-3 win over John Epping’s team from Ontario. This is their first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling win.
While the Bottcher triumph might have come as a surprise to some fans, the team had been undefeated all week and had come off some recent close calls at the Canada Cup and other curling events this season.
“We’ve been a team searching for a big win,” Bottcher said in his scrum with reporters.
Much like Casey Scheidegger in the women’s event two years before, North Battleford proved to be the venue for another breakthrough win by an Alberta team.
“I think all the cities you win a big one in, you kind of have a soft spot for for the rest of your career, and hopefully North Battleford does that for us,” Bottcher said.
“This has been an awesome event and I hope we’re coming back here a few more times.”
It was a tight game until the late going between the reigning Alberta and Ontario provincial champions, but Bottcher had the hammer from the start and never trailed.
Bottcher jumped to an early lead taking out an Epping stone to score two in the first. But a costly miss by Bottcher in the second, taking his own guard rock out, allowed Epping to score two to tie it 2-2.
Bottcher then retook the lead 3-2 in the third. After a scoreless fourth, Epping drew to the button to tie it up at 3-3.
In the sixth, Bottcher’s last rock just barely made it further than Epping’s stone into the eight-foot to count two for a 5-3 lead. Then in the seventh, Bottcher stole a point when Epping’s hit one of his own stones on his last rock.
With the score 6-3, Epping ran out of rocks in the eighth end, sealing the win.
“It felt like we always had the control the whole game and that’s good, we were never sort of on our heels chasing, and especially the deuce we got in the sixth end was just huge,” said Bottcher.
For their efforts the Bottcher team received the championship trophy, plus a spot in the upcoming Champions Cup in Saskatoon to wrap up the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season.
Next up for Bottcher is the Skins Game in Banff and then provincials in Alberta, where they hope to retain their Alberta title.