Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher locked up a berth in the 1-2 Page playoff game at the Tim Hortons Brier with a 10-3 victory over Ontario’s John Epping on Friday afternoon.
Bottcher secured top spot in the eight-team pool at 9-1 with one draw in the championship round remaining at the Leon’s Centre.
Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador beat Team Wild Card’s Mike McEwen 5-3 to move into sole possession of second place at 8-2.
Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs, McEwen and Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone were tied for third at 7-3.
Northern Ontario beat Canada’s Kevin Koe 7-3 and Saskatchewan edged Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson 9-8.
Ontario and Canada still had a slim chance of making the four-team cut for the Page playoffs despite 6-4 records. Manitoba (5-5) has been eliminated from playoff contention.
The winner of Saturday’s 1-2 Page playoff game will advance directly to the final Sunday night. The winner of the 3-4 Page playoff will advance to the semifinal Sunday afternoon against the loser of the 1-2 game. The semifinal winner will move on to the final.
The Brier champion will represent Canada at the March 28-April 5 world men’s curling championship in Glasgow, Scotland.