Brendan Botcher shoots a stone during the first draw of the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

Bottcher captures 1st career Alberta Boston Pizza Cup

February 13, 2017, 12:17 AM

Brendan Bottcher captured his first career Alberta Boston Pizza Cup scoring a single in the extra end to edge out Ted Appelman 6-5 during Sunday’s all-Edmonton final in Westlock.

The team of Bottcher, third Darren Moulding, second Bradley Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin will now represent the province next month the Tim Hortons Brier. They join fellow Albertan Kevin Koe and his crew from Calgary, who did not return to defend the provincial crown having earned the Team Canada auto-berth as the reigning national champions.

Sportsnet analyst Kevin Martin, an 18-time Grand Slam winner and father of Karrick, serves as Team Bottcher’s coach.

Bottcher remained undefeated to the title qualifying for the Page playoffs through the A side at 3-0 and defeating Charley Thomas and his Edmonton team 8-3 in the A-B match.

Opening with the hammer, Bottcher made a double takeout in the second for a single. Appelman pulled off a double of his own in the fourth and stuck his shooter for a deuce to go ahead. Bottcher attempted a gentle tap on Appelman’s shot rock in five to get back two, but he over-curled and jammed the counter for just one to tie it 2-2.

Appelman aimed to hit and stick for one in the sixth, but over-curled and his shooter rolled away to give up a steal. Sitting shot rock frozen in seven, Appelman attempted to raise his own guard, but didn’t get the right angle and settled for a point to tie it back up 3-3.

With a chance to possibly score four in the eighth on a come-around tap, Bottcher’s last rock was over-swept, glancing Appelman’s shot stone and rolling away to only count a single.

Bottcher closed up the port in the ninth end, forcing Appelman to make a tricky angle raise on his own guard. That shuffled the cluster of rocks around in the house but couldn’t get Appelman shot stone as Bottcher counted another single steal to lead 5-3.

Appelman split up the rings in the 10th to set up the tying deuce and force the extra frame.

Moulding cleaned out the sheet on his first throw to sit one leaving Appelman nowhere to hide and Bottcher made an open hit and stick with the final rock of the game.

It’s been quite the turnaround for Team Bottcher with Moulding coming onboard only a few weeks ago. Tom Appelman, now throwing third on his brother’s team, previously played with Bottcher and was dropped from the lineup last year with veteran Pat Simmons entering the picture for this season. The team never seemed to click together and the two-time Brier champ Simmons parted ways over the Christmas break.

Earlier, Appelman topped Thomas 8-6 in Sunday’s semifinal to book a spot in the championship game.

Thomas blanked the first couple ends and his patience paid off in the third as he hit, rolled and stayed on the edge of the 12-foot circle with his first skip stone then had a freebie draw into the rings for his two points.

A big miss by Thomas in the fifth end allowed Appelman to turn things around. Thomas attempt a double takeout, however, his shooter flew through the house untouched allowing Appelman to draw and score four and go ahead 4-2.

Thomas looked to make a thin double for a deuce in six and hit the first counter, but his shooter missed the second, which held up for shot stone and a steal making it 5-2.

Thomas took two in the seventh and Appelman matched with a pair in eight to reestablish the three-point cushion. Appelman couldn’t quite get the across-the-house double takeout as the second rock remained in the rings and Thomas drew for another deuce in nine to narrow the gap 7-6.

Appelman held the hammer coming home and didn’t need to throw his last as Thomas aimed to make a double takeout but jammed the counter to keep it locked on the button.

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