It’s shaping up to be quite a rivalry – depending on your definition.
“It would be (a rivalry) if we could beat him,” said Team Cowan skip Chad Cowan. “But we can’t beat him yet. We just have to keep on trying.
“He does get pumped up to play us, more so than with other teams.”
The Yukon/NWT Territorial Men’s Championships ended in dramatic fashion Tuesday at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
Tied with 4-2 records after a double round-robin, NWT’s Team Koe and Yukon’s Team Cowan went to a tiebreaker. After trading points in the early ends, Koe pulled away with two in the fifth for an eventual 5-3 win and another trip to the Tim Hortons Brier being held at the start of next month in Halifax.
“There was a little bit of gambling going back and forth, we were trying to put the pressure on him in the early ends, and they were putting pressure on us,” said Cowan. “I had a chance for two points in the sixth and I didn’t quite make the shot and I ended up giving them another point.
“From there they proceeded to eliminate rocks and keep the house really clean. And then they just ran us out of rocks.”
With the exception of 2008, when Koe did not compete and Team Cowan won the trip to the Brier, Team Koe has won the last seven territorial playdowns.
“We had our chances earlier on in the round-robin to capitalize and pull off a win against Koe,” said Cowan. “The only games we lost were against Koe, so I give him credit, he beat us three times and he has a right to go.”
Winless in their first three matches Yukon 2, Team Solberg, managed to pull even at 3-3 by the end of the round-robin. Had Team Solberg skip Jon Solberg not come up short on an open draw for a win against NWT 1, Team Skauge, which finished last with a 1-5 record, the round-robin could have ended in a three-way tie.
“I have no excuses, but it was really busy here at the club – we had Polar Games over the weekend – and I just wasn’t focused in the first three games,” said Solberg, who is also business manager for the Curling Club. “I feel bad for my team because I obviously wasn’t prepared for curling and my team was.”
Considering his rink was assembled in December, Solberg, despite the slow start, is proud of how his team progressed.
“We’re really impressed by the progress and how well the team curled together in such a short time frame,” said Solberg. “The team dynamics were really starting to come together near the end there.”
To give a better idea of how closely matched the rinks were, in the round robin Solberg defeated Koe twice, Cowan beat Solberg twice and Koe beat Cowan twice (not counting the tiebreaker).
“That’s how even our teams were,” said Cowan. “All the teams had their chances, so there were some close games and it was good competition.”
This weekend the Whitehorse Curling Club is hosting the Canadian Tire Sportsman’s Bonspiel featuring 26 Yukon curling teams.
“It’s a recreationally based bonspiel and it’s going to be a lot of fun for the teams,” said Solberg. “It’s a real opportunity for the community to come out and have some fun for the weekend and relearn what curling is all about.”
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