Vernon skip Jim Cotter improved to 4-2 at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championships Wednesday morning with a 9-5 win over the Northwest Territories. A win over Ontario at 5 p.m. Wednesday, or a Nova Scotia loss to Alberta, will advance the B.C. champs to the second round. (Morning Star - file photo)

Vernon rink in position to advance at Brier

Jim Cotter improved to 4-2 Wednesday morning; can clinch spot in next round with win at 5 p.m.

A big win at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championship Wednesday morning in Brandon has Vernon’s Jim Cotter in a good position to advance to the next round.

Cotter defeated Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories 9-5 to improve to 4-2 and alone in third place with one Pool B round-robin game left at 5 p.m. Pacific vs Ontario. Koe dropped to 1-5.

The top four teams from the group will join the top four teams from Pool A in a four-game round robin starting Thursday. Tiebreakers will be played Thursday morning, if necessary, to see who ends up in the next round.

Each team carries over their record from the preliminary round. Top four teams after Friday’s conclusion advance to the playoffs, starting Saturday.

Cotter, backed by third Steve Laycock, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky, was in a thieving mood Wednesday morning, stealing three of his first four points against Koe for a 4-2 lead at the five-end break.

The B.C. champs took control of the game in the seventh end, scoring three for a 7-3 lead. After Koe got a pair back in the eighth end, Cotter forced early handshakes with a deuce in nine.

RELATED: Vernon rink suffers Brier setback

A Cotter win over Scott McDonald of Kingston at 5 p.m. will officially clinch a spot in the next round for the Vernon rink. McDonald fell to 3-3 with a 9-8, extra end loss to Terry Odishaw of New Brunswick (2-4).

Alberta’s Kevin Koe and defending champion Brad Gushue’s Team Canada rink from Newfoundland/Labrador punched their tickets to round two Wednesday morning. Koe improved to 6-0 by thumping winless David St. Louis of Nunavut 13-2 in eight ends.

Gushue also needed eight ends to improve to 5-1 with a 9-2 romp over Stuart Thompson of Nova Scotia (3-3).

Thompson plays Kevin Koe in the final round-robin draw. A Koe win would also give the Vernon rink a berth into the next round.

In Pool A, Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario (6-0) and Wild Card entry Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton (5-1) have clinched spots in round two. Kirk Muyres of Saskatchewan – Laycock’s former team – is third at 4-2 while Jon Solberg of the Yukon and Mike McEwen of Manitoba are 3-3.

RELATED: Vernon rink wins opening game at Brier

* At the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Stirling, Scotland, inserting Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest into the lineup has paid off for Team Canada.

After losing their first four games with Forrest watching from the wings, the three-time world champ and two-time Paralympic gold medalist was put into the lineup and Canada hasn’t lost since.

Canada defeated Slovakia 8-7 Wednesday to improve to 2-4, good for ninth place in the 12-team field. Canada got into the win column with a 5-3 win over China. They lost 7-6 to Latvia, 8-4 to Korea, 5-2 to Norway and 8-4 to Switzerland.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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