For the second straight year, the semifinal round proved to be the end of the road for Saskatchewan at the Tim Hortons Brier.
Skip Matt Dunstone, third Braeden Moskowy, second Kirk Muyres and lead Dustin Kidby could only watch on as Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher made a long-range angle-raise takeout for two in the tenth end to pick up a dramatic 6-5 win at the Markin McPhail Centre in Calgary.
Dunstone, who lost to eventual champion Brad Gushue in the semifinal last year in Kingston, bounced back after giving up a steal of one in the eighth end as he picked up two points to take a 5-4 lead coming home.
The rink looked set to earn a steal of one in the final frame and help their province reach the championship game at the Brier for the first time since Brad Heidt in 1995 until Bottcher made one of the best shots of the week.
Bottcher would then go on to win his first Tim Hortons Brier title in a 4-2 affair over Kevin Koe’s Wild Card 2 rink on Sunday night.
Bottcher, who curls with third Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin, had lost the last three finals.
Koe, who is joined on his team by third B.J. Neufeld, second John Morris and lead Ben Hebert, was looking to win his fifth Brier title and take over the all-time record by a skip that he shares with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin.
The Bottcher rink will now represent Canada at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Calgary from April 2-11.