CURLING: Upset wins for Bottcher and Einarson in Players Championship

Canada's Kerri Einarson, skip of the Players' Championship winners

The final “regular season” tournament of the Grand Slam of Curling showcased some of the biggest names in curling, but it was the lesser-known teams that scored impressive wins in the finals.

Canadian Kerri Einarson’s rink sat at 1-3 in the round-robin play and had to win their final group match to squeeze into the playoffs. But they did and then managed wins over Tracey Fleury and Robyn Silvernagle’s teams to get to the final against the formidable – and undefeated – Anna Hasselborg (SWE), the Olympic champs and twice World Championships runner-ups.

Hasselborg had a 2-1 lead after three ends, but then Einarson scored twice in end six for a 4-3 lead. The Swedes came back to tie in the eighth, but in the extra end, Einarson came up with a score to take the match and the tournament by 5-4.

The men’s match had a similar storyline, as Brendan Bottcher’s team managed a 3-2 record in the round-robin, but caught fire in the playoffs. His rink dispatched World Champ Niklas Edin (SWE), then Ross Paterson (CAN) in the semis and then faced two-time World Champion Kevin Koe in the final.

The final was tight until the end, with Bottcher scoring one in the first and Koe evening in the third end. Bottcher edged ahead, 2-1, in the fifth and it remained that way until the eighth, when everything was on the line and Bottcher ended up scoring four points to a 6-1 final.

It was the second Grand Slam title for Bottcher and crew, as they won the Canadian Open earlier and will now advance to the Humpty Champions Cup in Saskatoon (CAN) starting 23 April. Koe didn’t go away empty-handed, however, as he clinched the overall seasonal title earlier in the tournament.

The women’s seasonal title went to Canadian Rachel Homan’s rink, with Hasselborg second and Einarson third. Summaries:

Grand Slam of Curling/Players Championship
Toronto (CAN) ~ 9-14 April 2019
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Brendan Bottcher (CAN); 2. Kevin Koe (CAN) ; 3. Peter de Cruz (SUI) and Ross Paterson (SCO). Semis: Bottcher d. Paterson, 7-4; Koe d. de Cruz, 9-8. Final: Bottcher d. Koe, 6-1.

Men’s Pinty’s Cup (season standings): 1. Kevin Koe (CAN), 50; 2. Brendan Bottcher (CAN), 46; 3. Brad Gushue (CAN), 45; 4. Brad Jacobs (CAN), 40; 5. Glenn Howard (CAN), 36.

Women: 1. Kerri Einarson (CAN); 2. Anna Hasselborg (SWE); 3. Casey Scheidegger (CAN) and Robyn Silvernagle (CAN). Semis: Hasselborg d. Scheidegger, 5-4; Einarson d. Silvernagle, 7-4. Final: Einarson d. Hasselborg, 5-4 (extra end).

Women’s Pinty’s Cup (season standings): 1. Rachel Homan (CAN), 56; 2. Anna Hasselborg (SWE), 49; 3. Kerri Einarson (CAN), 38; 4. Jennifer Jones (CAN), 37; 5. Casey Scheidegger (CAN), 33.