News Tour Challenge

Koe closes out win over Mouat in extra end at HearingLife Tour Challenge

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Canada’s Team Kevin Koe climbed back into the win column Thursday in the HearingLife Tour Challenge.

Koe improved to a 2-1 record in the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season after edging Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat 5-4 in an extra end at the Gale Centre.

The Calgary-based club, which has one round-robin game remaining Friday against Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin, shot 84 per cent while Team Mouat fired at a 79 per cent pace.

“They’re obviously a great team, and I think both teams kind of struggled early on there,” said Tyler Tardi, who throws third for Team Koe. “But it’s nice to get a win against a world-class team and get that out of the way. Two-and-one is a great feeling. We just need a couple of good draws and hopefully a nice win against the other best team in the world and we’re looking good.

“We’re definitely, to be honest, not playing to our potential right now. That’s nice that we’re still getting wins in that situation but lots to tune up before the playoffs if we can qualify.”

Team Koe won the Princess Auto Players’ Championship last April with second Brad Thiessen stepping back from competitive curling on a high note. Jacques Gauthier, who skipped Team B.C. at the Brier last season, has come on board at second and Tardi said it’s a much different dynamic now.

“We were all very quiet last year,” said Tardi, who happens to be cousins with Gauthier. “Jacques is a bit of a sparkplug, so he brings out a little bit in all of us, which is good. It’s been fun so far.”

Trailing by one against Mouat, Koe jumped into the driver’s seat scoring a deuce in the sixth after the skip made one of his patented double takeouts.

“He’s still got it,” Tardi said with a smile. “I think he’s got a couple 100,000 shots left in his career to make. No danger of him missing any of those any time soon.”

Koe turned that into a 4-2 advantage when Mouat misfired his last in the seventh to give up a steal.

Mouat regrouped and was able to tap and score the tying two points in the eighth end to force overtime. Koe just had to make an open hit and had to hang around with his last in the extra.

Elsewhere, Canada’s Team Reid Carruthers stole three points in the seventh end to swipe a 6-2 victory from Team John Shuster of the United States. The Winnipeg native Carruthers climbed into the win column at 1-2 while Shuster holds an identical record.

“It’s not a good feeling when you’re 0-2 and playing against the best teams in the world,” Carruthers said. “We’ll happily take that win, some of the positives of the game and some of the things we want to work on and hopefully play well tomorrow.”

Italy’s Team Joël Retornaz remains undefeated after sweeping past Team Edin 8-2 in only five ends. Retornaz (3-0) scored four in the first, two in the third and stole a pair in the fourth while limiting Edin (1-2) to singles in the second and fifth ends.

Scotland’s Team Ross Whyte also climbed to a 3-0 mark with an 8-6 extra-end victory over Japan’s Team Riku Yanagisawa (1-2).

HEARINGLIFE TOUR CHALLENGE: Scores/Standings | Draw Schedule | Broadcast Schedule


• Team Black 6, Team Skrlik 5

• Team Anderson 12, Team Hunkin 2

• Team Yoshimura 9, Team Strouse 3

• Team Inglis 6, Team Jäggi 3


The HearingLife Tour Challenge continues with Draw 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT on Sportsnet 360 and streaming online at Sportsnet+ (Canada) and Yare (international).


The HearingLife Tour Challenge is the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season with 32 men’s teams and 32 women’s teams in two tiers of action. Tier 1 features the top teams from around the world while Tier 2 features the next ranked group of teams looking to move up the ranks. … Round-robin play runs through to Friday with the top eight teams in each division qualifying for the playoffs. … The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with the finals set for Sunday.