Team Canada Kevin Koe; Marc Kennedy; Brent Laing; Ben HebertPhoto: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Roar of the Rings: Team Koe to become Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

Team Canada’s 2016 world champions are back on top.

Kevin Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing and Ben Hebert topped Team McEwen (Mike McEwen, BJ Neufeld, Matt Wozniak, Denni Neufeld) 7-6 to win the Roar of the Rings and will represent Canada at PyeongChang 2018.

In a tie game in the 10th and facing two yellow stones, Koe needed to draw to the four foot for the win. He just got it there as his sweepers gave everything they had, with even Kennedy coming out from behind the house to help.

Team Canada Kevin Koe; Marc Kennedy; B.J. Neufeld; Brent Laing; Ben Hebert

Team Koe skip Kevin Koe, from Calgary, Alta., back left to right, third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing (obscured) and lead Ben Hebert celebrate winning on the final shot as Team McEwen third B.J. Neufeld looks on during the men’s final at the 2017 Roar of the Rings Olympic Curling Trials in Ottawa on Sunday, December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Many would have considered McEwen the underdog, having only qualified for his first Brier in 2016. But it was he who knocked reigning world champion Brad Gushue out of the trials, making anything possible for Sunday’s final.

It was Koe who opened the scoring, forced to draw to the four-foot for a single in the first. He returned the favour immediately, forcing McEwen to draw against three red stones to tie it up. Koe went up 2-1 in the third after hitting for the single.

Team McEwen finally scored the game’s first two-spot in the fourth, however Koe came back with a deuce of his own in the fifth for a 4-3 lead into the break.

In the sixth, McEwen had a shot that was just too thin and rolled away, allowing Koe to steal and finish the end with a 5-3 lead. McEwen was able to hit for two in the seventh, tying things up at 5-5. The teams then exchanged singles in the eighth and ninth ends.

Kennedy and Hebert will make their returns to the Olympic Winter Games after winning gold with skip Kevin Martin at Vancouver 2010. Laing will be looking to add more Olympic hardware to his house as well. His wife Jennifer Jones skipped her team to gold at Sochi 2014.