Despite a final preliminary round loss, Vernon’s Jim Cotter is advancing to the championship pool at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championships in Brandon. (Tracey Roberts - photo)

Despite a final preliminary round loss, Vernon’s Jim Cotter is advancing to the championship pool at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championships in Brandon. (Tracey Roberts - photo)

Vernon rink advances to Brier championship pool

Jim Cotter loses final round-robin game, 10-9, to Ontario; both rinks advance along with six others

Vernon’s Jim Cotter is moving on to the championship pool at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championship in Brandon, despite a final preliminary game loss.

Cotter and rink of third Steve Laycock, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky dropped a 10-9 decision to Ontario’s Scott McDonald of Kingston. Both teams finished the round-robin at 4-3. Cotter ended up with the fourth and final spot to advance out of Pool B when Nova Scotia’s Stuart Thompson lost 7-5 to Alberta’s Kevin Koe, who finished atop the group at 7-0.

Thompson finished at 3-4.

RELATED: Vernon rink in position to advance at Brier

Defending Brier champion Brad Gushue’s Team Canada rink from Newfoundland and Labrador ended up 6-1 following an 11-2 pasting of winless Nunavut.

Koe, Gushue, McDonald and Cotter advance to the championship round, starting at 12 p.m. Pacific Thursday, in a two-day, four-game round robin against the top four teams from Pool A: Northern Ontario (Brad Jacobs, 7-0); Wild Card (Brendan Bottcher, Edmonton, 6-1); Manitoba (Mike McEwen, 4-3) and Saskatchewan (Kirk Muyres, 4-3).

Each team carries over their preliminary round record. Top four teams at the end of Friday advance to the page playoffs starting Saturday.

Cotter will play Jacobs at noon Thursday and Bottcher at 5 p.m. Pacific, then take on McEwen and Muyres Friday.

Cotter and Ontario traded deuces to begin the contest, but the Kingston rink scored four in the third to take a 6-2 lead. The B.C. champs didn’t give up, and picking up three in the sixth end cut the Ontario lead to 7-6. Cotter tied the game in the seventh with a steal of one.

McDonald only scored one with the hammer in the eighth, and Cotter would count a deuce in nine to take a 9-8 lead coming home without last rock. McDonald scored a pair for the victory.