REGINA, Saskatchewan -- Alberta's Brendan Bottcher defeated John Epping of Ontario 6-4 in the Tim Hortons Brier semifinal Sunday afternoon. The win for Bottcher sends them to the final where they will play Newfoundland & Labrador's Brad Gushue, playing as Team Canada this week as reigning champion.
Epping opened with 2 in the first end with Bottcher tying the game in the fourth end getting two of their own. In the fifth end, Epping looked to break the game open when Bottcher made a game-saving hit and roll to freeze to another Epping stone, forcing Epping into scoring a single point for a 3-2 lead.
After Bottcher was forced to a single in the sixth end, he ended up taking the lead in the seventh end when Epping was wide on a draw against two, giving Botcher an unsurmountable 5-3 lead. Epping was forced to a single in the eighth end, then was unable to generate a steal to tie the game as Bottcher scored a single in the tenth end for the win.
Bottcher now plays Gushue in the final at 6pm Saskatchewan time (8pm ET) which can be seen across the TSN network. Bottcher handed Gushue (11-1) their only loss, a 10-7 defeat during draw 12.
"We're already so proud of how we've done," said Bottcher. "There isn't a whole lot of pressure on us and there's a ton on him."
For Gushue, the experience of playing this year's Brier has been freeing, the monkey off their backs after winning their first Brier title last season. Following their win yesterday in the Page 1v2 game, Gushue reflected on the difference this year.
"I can't emphasize enough how different this feels from last year, how free we are."