The Canadian Mixed Curling Championship is off and running in Canmore, Alta., and the NWT is off to as good a start as a team could get.
Jamie Koe and his rink of Margot Flemming, Cole Parsons and Megan Koehler were sitting atop the standings in their pool after play on Monday thanks to three straight wins to open up play. They began on Sunday afternoon by taking on Quebec, the defending champions, a rink being skipped this year by Jean-Michel Menard, the 2005 Brier champion.
Menard opened the scoring with a single in the first end with the hammer, but Koe scored a deuce with last rock in the second to take the lead. Menard tied the game in the third end with a single before blanking the fourth.
Koe would score two with the hammer after the break in the fifth to go up 4-2. The teams then traded singles in the sixth and seventh ends. Koe would seal it in the eighth and final end as Menard’s attempt to blow up the house failed, giving Koe a steal of three and an 8-3 win.
Monday was a two-game day for the NWT foursome and it began in the morning versus Nunavut’s Peter Van Strien out of the Iqaluit Curling Club. Koe opened with the hammer and scored a deuce before Van Strien posted a single in the second.
The big end, though, came in the third as Koe would put up a five-spot to take a 7-1 lead and he wouldn’t look back as the NWT won, 10-3, with Van Strien shaking hands after seven ends.
Craig Burgess of Nova Scotia was the opposition in the afternoon tilt. Koe would start off by stealing the game’s first point before Burgess scored three with the hammer in the second. Koe would answer that in the third with three of his own to take a 4-3 lead and would add another with a steal in the fourth to go up, 5-3.
The thieving would continue as Koe stole singles in the fifth and sixth ends to build up a 7-3 lead before Burgess scored two in the seventh to narrow the gap to 7-5. Burgess would then steal in the eighth but it was just a single as Koe ended up with a 7-6 win.
Koe had just one game on Tuesday, that coming against Alex Forrest of Manitoba before another doubleheader on Wednesday. The NWT skip and his crew will take on Craig MacAlpine of Alberta before a big game against Trevor Bonot of Northern Ontario, silver medallist at the 2017 World Mixed Curling Championship, in the final pool game before the championship round begins. Only the top four in each pool will move on to that phase.