Roar of the Rings notebook: Koe closing in on Olympic dream

Curling is Kevin Koe’s business … and business is good. You’d better believe it.

With a playoff spot already locked at the Roar of the Rings, Koe clinched the crucial bye straight to the Canadian curling trials men’s championship game keeping his unblemished record intact with a 7-4 victory Thursday afternoon over John Morris.

Koe (7-0) had a second lifeline to earn the No. 1 seed with one round-robin game remaining against Brad Gushue but earning it earlier was the preferred option, obviously. The Calgary native can rest easy now knowing he has secured a spot in Sunday night’s showdown to determine who will represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Team Koe third Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert have been down this road before winning the 2009 trials with legendary skip Kevin Martin while second Brent Laing was on the heartbreak side of those Roar of the Rings finishing runner-up with Glenn Howard.

Kennedy knows the importance of earning the bye — plus hammer and rock colour choice — for the final.

“It’s great. Mission accomplished: get to the final as quickly as possible and not have to battle one of the best teams in the world in the semifinal,” said Kennedy, who captured the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. “That’s big. It gives us a couple days of rest to get the body feeling good and to come off of a game where we played pretty well in the last half. Everything is working out for us so far and we’re going to put ourselves in a good position for Sunday.”

Kennedy believes his team isn’t going to have a problem with the break between meaningful games.

“To be honest, I think it’s easy. I think we might even take a little bit of a mental break for a day,” he said. “It’s been a long, hard week but we’ve all been here before. The layoff isn’t going to be a bad thing for us. We’re getting older, man. We need the break and we want to come out Sunday night, feel refreshed and I think now we’re going to have that opportunity.”

While Koe’s place in the final is guaranteed, his opponent could end up being just anyone else in the field except for Morris, who was the only one officially ousted when they finished up in …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

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