Editor’s note: The next match-up in NNSL Media’s Greatest Of All Time competition is on the horizon with the 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship silver medal-winning rink of Jamie Koe, Kerry Galusha, Robert Borden and Megan Cormier (Koehler) up against the 2018-2019 edition of Team Galusha.
Curling Canada hosts the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship each November and it’s a big deal that draws out some big names on the curling scene in Canada.
It’s also the one event where the NWT has come close to winning a national title in recent years with the 2015 representatives coming the closest in recent memory.
The foursome of Jamie Koe, Kerry Galusha, Robert Borden and Megan Cormier (Koehler) out of the Yellowknife Curling Centre ended up coming home with the silver medal from that year’s bonspiel after dropping the championship contest to Saskatchewan by a score of 7-4 but it was a great run for Koe and company to win the first Canadian championship curling medal for the NWT, at that time, since the 1994 junior men’s team of which Koe served as third for his brother, Kevin Koe.
In speaking with NNSL Media on Monday morning, Koe said he thought it would turn out to be a good week for the team.
“I was optimistic about our chances before we went,” he said. “I had the plan on going to win it. The other three were looking at me and asking if I was serious and I was. I felt we had a real good chance to be there in the final four.”
Not only was there a national title on the line but there was the big bonus prize of being the very first team to represent Canada at the newly-created World Mixed Curling Championship in 2015 on the line in North Bay, Ont., that year.
“We only found about that just before everything got underway so it wasn’t the focus,” said Koe. “We just wanted to go out and try to win a national championship for the NWT.”
The rink began in the round-robin and would end up with a record of four wins and two losses; the wins came at the expense of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Quebec and Yukon. From there, they would enter the championship pool to play the four teams from the other group they had yet to play. They would win three of those four games over Ontario, Nova Scotia and Northern Ontario to finish third and advance to the medal round.
“We got on a roll and got through first round,” said Koe. “It came down to the last rock in the last game in the championship pool but we got through that.”
From there, it was a rematch with Ontario in the semifinal, which the foursome won, 7-3, to advance to the final and get a second crack at Saskatchewan.
Koe said a huge start in the semifinal was the difference.
“Ontario was one of the top teams all week and I was a bit worried before the game,” he said. “I made a tap-back to score three early and that opened the gates for us. I was surprised at the hot start we had.”
Saskatchewan started with the hammer and scored a single in the opening end, which was answered in kind by Koe with a single of his own in the second. Saskatchewan scored a deuce in the third, which was answered in kind by Koe with a deuce of his own in the fourth.
The difference in the game came in the fifth end when Saskatchewan scored a deuce, while Koe could only respond with a single in the sixth. Saskatchewan scored another two in the seventh and then ran Koe out of rocks in the eighth to win the title.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” said Koe. “I made what I thought was the shot of the week in the fourth end but they made a great shot in the next end to get that right back. It was all momentum swings and they had more of it in the late going.”
Koe, Galusha and Cormier would make up three-quarters of the team that won bronze last November at the national mixed championship with David Aho serving as the team’s second in place of Borden.