Calgary's own Kevin Koe releases a stone during semifinal action at the Humpty's Champions Cup. (Anil Mungal)

Koe delivers spectacular shot to reach Champions Cup final

April 30, 2017, 2:02 AM

CALGARY — It was a classic case of Kevin Koe just being Kevin Koe.

With only 17 seconds left on the clock as he steadied in the hack to deliver his final rock Saturday in the Humpty’s Champions Cup semifinals, Koe came through in the clutch with a late entry for shot of the year.

The hometown hero Koe fired a pistol to pull off an unbelievable runback double takeout to score three squeezing past Sweden’s Niklas Edin 6-4 and into the final game of season.

Watch the men’s final Sunday on Sportsnet One and 360 at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT and online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) or gsoc.yaretv.com (international)

It was the last chance for the team of Koe, third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert to make it to a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling final for the year. The foursome are among the most decorated in the series with a combined 40 titles and will play for their first Pinty’s GSOC championship since capturing the Tour Challenge Tier 1 in September 2015.

“We made some good shots, they made a bunch of good shots, and then Kevin Koe did what Kevin Koe does,” Laing said. “He threw a laser on his last one, haired by a guard, made the run double and off we go to the final. Fun stuff.”

Team Koe clashes with Brad Jacobs and his crew from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Laing expects it to be a battle.

“It always takes your best game to beat those guys,” he said. “We have a lot of fun playing against them. There’s a lot of mutual respect back and forth.

“We’ve had a lot great games against them, wins and losses. It’s fun to play against the best and they’re one of the best for sure so it’s going to be a great way to end the season. A big game and in the hometown here for Team Koe in Calgary against Team Jacobs for big bucks, so yeah it’s going to be awesome.”

Koe looked to break a 2-2 tie with an angle raise double to score three in the fourth, but didn’t get the right degree and only took out one counter as the other stuck around for shot stone and a steal.

The teams split singles in six and seven with Koe holding the hammer coming home down one, but he completed the comeback.

“We were kind of behind the 8-ball,” Laing said. “We had a good start then gave up a steal and Nik kind of gained control. … We were fortunate in seven to force them and then have the hammer coming home down one.”

Edin won three Pinty’s GSOC titles in 2016-17 and clinched the Rogers Grand Slam Cup as the overall season champion.

Meanwhile, Jacobs shot the lights out to outduel Toronto’s John Epping 9-5 in a curling clinic.

The team of Jacobs, third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harden reached their fourth Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling final this season alone with a championship victory in their hometown at the Boost National and runner-up results at the WFG Masters in Okotoks, Alta., and the Princess Auto Elite 10 in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.

“It’s really cool to make so many finals, but we’re 1-2 in finals,” Jacobs said. “We’ve been in a ton of finals as a team and to be honest with you we want to go out there tomorrow and we want to win this whole thing.

“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to win because you get sick of losing finals especially in Grand Slams. We’re going to try and go out there tomorrow, hopefully get a handle on the ice early, make a lot of shots and hopefully win the last game of the season.”

Jacobs was heavy on his first skip stone in the opening end and Epping drew to lie four. Jacobs fired an amazing angle raise at the cluster to only give up two. The 2014 Olympic gold medallist Jacobs came back with a deuce in the second to tie it 2-2.

Epping made a stunning shot in the third to go around the horn and up to the button to score a deuce pulling back into the lead 4-2.

The shooting gallery continued with Jacobs hitting in and off for a pair in the fourth to make it all square. Epping continued the thriller bumping back three counters in a row to leave his other rock as shot stone to go up 5-4.

Jacobs, who shot at an outstanding 97 percent clip, controlled the sixth though and made an open draw for three and the lead. The momentum stayed with Jacobs as Epping conceded a steal of two in seven and shook hands.

“It was a little bit of a rollercoaster ride of emotions early because there were made shots, missed shots and a couple game-savers,” Jacobs said. “I think we picked it up and played a lot better as soon as we knew we weren’t out of the game, we were still in it, and we made the shots that we had to in order to win.”

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Rachel Homan faces Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg in the women’s final Sunday at Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT on Sportsnet. Homan stole her way to a 5-0 shutout over Alina Paetz of Switzerland while Hasselborg cruised past Jacqueline Harrison of Mississauga, Ont., 7-2.

The Humpty’s Champions Cup is the seventh and final event of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. Teams had to win high-profile tournaments during the year in order to receive invites.

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