Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Oh brother, what a sad occasion

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KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Alberta’s Kevin Koe won his third game in a row Monday afternoon to move into a tie for second place behind Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton — and he couldn’t have been less happy about it.

"The rest of the teams out there, you love beating up on them. But this is one, you don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of it," Koe said after an 8-3 thrashing of his brother, Jamie Koe, who is skipping the Northwest Territories entry.

"It’s never fun beating them because I’m always cheering for them every year they’re here. This year is no different even though we’re here. But that being said, we needed a win to keep going. It’s a big week for us so we had to try to treat it like just another game."

If Kevin Koe didn’t enjoy Monday’s game, well, try to imagine Jamie Koe’s perspective. The loss was the second in a row for the northern skip and dropped his record to 1-3. What’s more, the loss also dropped his lifetime record against his brother at the Brier to 0-4.

So yeah, Monday’s events might have been tough on Kevin. But they were definitely tougher on Jamie.

"It sucks. And not just to lose to them but to not even put up a fight," said Jamie, whose team was in all kinds of trouble, early and often against his older brother, the 2010 world champion. "It was a TV game against my brother and we just came out flat for whatever reason. We really didn’t have any effort and they played well — they put us in some tough (situations)."

Indeed, after yielding a four to Alberta in the third end, NWT was in even bigger trouble in the fourth, with Jamie Koe needing nothing less than a draw to the button against six Alberta counters to keep the game within reach.

Koe made the draw, but it was a withering war of attrition after that and the final outcome was never much in doubt, with the two brothers shaking hands after eight ends.

It was the fourth time the two brothers faced each other at the Brier the last couple of years and the Alberta skip has owned each battle, which included a playoff matchup in 2012 when the pair faced each other in the Page 3 vs. 4, marking the first time NWT had qualified for the Brier playoffs.

Kevin Koe said he wished his brother good luck the rest of the way. "Hopefully, both of us win the rest of our games."

The win over the northerners vaulted Koe’s Alberta team into a four-way tie for second place at 3-1 heading into Monday night’s late draw. The other teams tied with Koe were B.C.’s John Morris, Saskatchewan’s Steven Laycock and, in the biggest surprise of the week, P.E.I.’s Eddie MacKenzie.

Manitoba plays twice today, taking on Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard (2-2) in the morning and Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy, (0-4) this afternoon.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 4, 2014 D4

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