REGINA, Saskatchewan -- By Rory McCusker -- Alberta's Brendan Bottcher (photo by Anil Mungal) has quickly become a crowd favourite at the Tim Hortons Brier, steal an extra end win over Brad Jacobs to advance to the semifinal.
Bottcher played a conservative game until the sixth end, when in a tied game they stole a point to take back the advantage. Northern Ontario's Brad Jacobs capitalized on misses from Alberta third Darren Moulding to score two, then stole another point in the eighth endend when Bottcher came up light on a draw.
After blanking the ninth end, Alberta played a curled near perfect tenth end, setting up their stones throughout the house leaving no easy doubles for Northern Ontario. On his last shot of the end, Brad Jacobs made a near perfect hit and roll forcing Bottcher to made a big shot to the enjoyment of the raucous Regina crowd to score 2 and force the extra end.
In the extra end, things went predictably. Peels from Northern Ontario, guards and come-arounds from Alberta. Into skip shots, Bottcher was looking at overlapping rocks in the rings, with Jacobs having the shot stone at the top of the button.
Faced with an option to attempt an easier runback leaving Jacobs a more makeable shot, Bottcher instead chose the more difficult draw to sit shot which was made perfectly forcing Jacobs, among the best hitters in the game a touch shot for the win.
"Brad Jacobs isn’t missing the eight foot," Bottcher said ahead of the game.
Due to the overlapping situation in the front of the house, was forced to follow Bottcher to the button, but a little extra weight say the stone saile wide, giving Bottcher a steal and the win to the delight of the crowd.
Dawning the blue alberta jacket at the brier has seemed to bring out the best in this Bottcher team, with Bottcher himself looking relaxed and confident as he makes pressure shots, and deals with adversity during the game.
"Everyone in these playoffs is probably a favorite against us," Bottcher admits. "But as far as I’m concerned, were playing great."
Bottcher entered the playoffs shooting 86%, behind only Brad Gushue and Jacobs.
"When we leave here, its going to be a success either way." said Bottcher.